It might feel like they’re new on the vaping scene but the disposable vapes debate has been rumbling since they first appeared a few years ago.
Back then it was a handful of vape companies bringing them out, with the USA seemingly the main target.
However, and out of nowhere half way through this year, the larger vape companies has been releasing disposable vapes in their droves.
It’s reminiscent of the endless release of pod kits – back in the day – that still shows no sign of stopping – and we’ve pretty much began to live with those…
Disposable vapes splits the vape world almost as much as Heat Not Burn devices, in that some welcome them whilst others positively shudder at the idea.
Most are concerned about the effect all that plastic, packaging and of course batteries has on the planet, whilst others worry they are slowly replacing open vape systems.
Disposable Vapes Debate – Recycling
I’ve covered the vape recycling issue before, that included the sheer lunacy of the 10ml e-liquid bottles law.
In that article I said recycling centres were unsure if plastic bottles that once contained nicotine could be recycled!
It’s the same with disposable vapes and the internal batteries.
What is a vaper supposed to do?
Take the whole thing apart – pick out the battery and recycle it at the tip or one of those battery boxes you find in supermarkets?
Should the manufacturers offer advice and maybe even fund recycling schemes?
Should the vape industry associations send recycling boxes with advice to all vape shops?
These are questions that need to be answered.
We have tried to engage a large number of large manufacturers in the disposable vapes debate – as yet none have responded…if they do I shall do a follow up.
Vape shop chain Totally Wicked has now implemented the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling scheme.
To remind you that old electrical equipment can be recycled, it will be marked with the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol.
This can be found either on the product itself or its packaging.
Any items marked with this symbol should NOT be disposed of in your normal household waste.
You can hand over your used vape devices at any of the Totally Wicked stores by hand or post.
Please check if your device/s are eligible by following the link above.
OK, over to the industry to see what they have to say in the disposable vapes debate.
Disposable Vapes Debate – Independent British Vape Trade Association
The IBVTA is proud that some of our members are among the first to introduce responsible disposal schemes for all vape devices, including disposables.
We look forward to working further with members old and new to help them understand and develop policies that minimise unnecessary environmental harm.
At the same time, it must be recognised that disposable e-cigarettes are extremely simple to use and are helping many smokers to finally make the switch from smoking to vaping.
The IBVTA cannot dictate to its members, or to smokers, that a device which is extremely popular should not be used.
They are the only solution for some smokers, including those experiencing mental health or mobility/dexterity issues.
While there are undoubtedly less impactful and cheaper ways to vape, disposable products have always been available.
For many current vapers, they were their first step towards a smoke-free journey.
We encourage our members to help smokers progress towards the best device for both them and the environment, but we will not push to deny smokers the use of a product which could, ultimately, save their lives.
Disposable Vapes Debate – New Nicotine Alliance
People want disposables, and there is an important place in the market for them.
This includes people who wouldn’t use more technically-challenging models when they first switch from smoking.
From an economy point of view, it makes much more sense to buy rechargeable devices, and there are plenty of excellent models available, for users to transition to once they’ve done some testing to see what suits them.
Disposables can also be useful for emergency situations when a device runs out of charge.
They do represent an environmental problem, and the New Nicotine Alliance strongly supports responsible disposal of all batteries, including single-use, and other waste from vaping materials.
Shops should provide a recycling bin and make customers aware of the importance of not putting these (and batteries for many other commonly-used devices) into landfill.
For non-recyclable components, a manufacturer policy needs to be developed.
Disposable Vapes Debate – We Vape
It is important that consumers have access to a wide variety of options so that they can quit smoking and stay quit.
There is a role for disposables when people leave their regular vape at home.
However, there is clearly an issue regarding recycling when it comes to disposables, but this problem exists with many single use products.
The answer lies in both providing more opportunities for people to recycle the product and also informing the the consumer both how to recycle and the the importance of doing so.
Harley – Reviewer and Vape Shop Owner
I have so many mixed feeling about disposables, they have a place, lets face it we’ve all had those times when we’ve left our vape at home or our battery dies.
For me, that is the place of disposables.
Disposables have fit that place perfectly for a few years (I reviewed a few in 2019), they’ve just been under the radar.
Now (it actually started in 2020), all of a sudden big brands like FreeMax and Geekvape decided they want a piece of the very small cake and advertised them to high hell.
Wholesalers are constantly bombarding my email and whatsapp with them.
All the other retails buckled and stocked them, now we have this wave of vapers who only use disposables.
As an active part of the vape community I look on and see that disposables are affordable to under 18s (more affordable than a packet of cigarettes).
I see the potential litter problem.
A disposable vape that has a device, airtight packet and a box could contribute 460,000 pieces of litter a year if 1million people use 3 a week and only 1 in 1,000 people litter them.
That’s 2 major problems that the vape industry already faces, that’s just got worse.
In the long term, they are also potentially bad for the entire industry, imagine if half of vapers used disposables.
As a retailer, I didn’t sell disposables when I first reopened.
However the customers wanted them, so I got them – I only sell the ELF Bars (at £5 each).
I have found (at the minute) that they’re more popular in my store with younger vapers (18-25)- and yes I have had to refuse numerous underage customers, which I have never really had to do before.
Oh there was also someone in their 40s that wanted one because she only vapes while she drinks, so it made more sense for her to get one a week.
The damage is already done, it’s just our job as reviewers, writers and shop owners, to remind people using an actual kit has it’s benefits (ie they’re more reliable cheaper in the long run and have an untapped range of juices).
Final Thoughts and Over To You
Harley makes an excellent point that vape reviewers really should be pushing the message that better options are out there for vapers.
That’s not to say we are anti in the disposable vapes debate, it’s more that a bit like the pod kit craze a few years back, we are being inundated with them.
To be honest most of the smaller names are shall we say a little bit sub standard, and to be honest they are all pretty much the same design – with only the flavours [in some cases] being different.
Both myself and Jonny recognise that in the disposable vapes debate there are pros and cons…
One thing we’re both clear on is we show/review the latest vape products, and leave it up to you the vaping adults to decide to purchase or not.
However, as far as disposable vapes go, it’s just getting silly now with the sheer amount out there with more and more released on a daily basis!
I’d like to thanks those who took part in this debate and there’s a couple of vaping industry insiders that want to – but haven’t got back to me yet.
Should they respond – I shall of course add their thoughts and opinions to this article.
So over to you!
What are your thoughts on the disposable vapes debate?