Resource management company Veolia has launched a national vape collection service to help provide safe disposal and recycling routes for the 3 million vapes currently thrown away in the U.K. each week.
Veolia states that it can now facilitate the collection and transport of vaping products from retailers to a recycling facility to extract the valuable materials, including lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese, inside.
The recycling of these items could save more than 10 tons of lithium that could be recycled into new products from the batteries, which would save up to 72 tons of carbon emissions compared to using raw materials as producing 1 ton of lithium from ore produces around 9 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Scottish Local Retailer.
Collections will be scheduled according to demand, and in order to store and transport these materials safely, Veolia will provide retailers with individual containers of vermiculite, a mineral that will minimize fire risks from the lithium-ion batteries contained within the vapes.
“Two vapes are thrown away every second. They might be called disposable, but they can and should be recycled,” said Donald Macphail, chief operating officer of treatment at Veolia U.K. “Our new nationwide vape collection service will provide a safe recycling avenue to retailers who provide the mandatory takeback schemes for vapes and ensure that we can extract the valuable materials contained within and mitigate any fire and environmental risks.”