ERP research shows majority of vapers unclear on recycling options

5 July 2023

In June, Landbell Group company, ERP Ireland, published research showing that consumers do not know how to properly dispose of vapes and e-cigarettes.

The nationally representative online survey – which was carried out amongst 1,000 adults aged over 18 years in May 2023 – revealed that currently 1 in 10 claimed to vape which would put the number of active vapers in Ireland close to 500,000 people.

With 66% of vapers improperly disposing of their vapes, this presents a health and safety risk and a missed opportunity to protect our environment.

Vaping products contain electronic components and lithium-ion batteries and require safe disposal when they become waste. When damaged, short-circuited, or overheated, these batteries can catch fire and present a risk to the health and safety of waste collection workers and others.

Vapes also contain a complex mixture of critical raw materials, such as cobalt, nickel and manganese, which can be re-used.

“Vape waste is an emerging issue as the prevalence of vaping in Ireland increases rapidly,” said Martin Tobin, CEO, ERP Ireland. “Vapes contain batteries and other recyclable materials but, as this research shows, a high proportion of current vapers are mistaken about how they should be disposing of used vapes.”

As the principal circular festival partner of the Body & Soul Festival, ERP Ireland recently commissioned artist, Ned Leddy, to create a sculpture highlighting the issue of vape recycling. The focus of the piece, Trash Mammoth, was to raise awareness about this important issue.

“As a form of ‘artivism’, an installation can do more than just entertain – it can significantly impact culture and society,” explained Martin Tobin. “We may have a Mammoth task ahead, but we hope this art installation will act as a beacon of inspiration and a call to action to encourage people to recycle their vapes and e-cigarettes.”

Consumers in Ireland may return waste vaping devices, free of charge, to any retail outlet that sells them when purchasing a new one or they can be disposed of in the WEEE/Battery area at civic amenity sites.

Find out more about the ERP Ireland research here.