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E-Cigarette & Vape Pens: Understanding Disposal Requirements

Disposal of these items plays a key role in the health and safety of the public and the environment.

E-cigarettes and vape pens continue to be a hot topic today as many reports on their safety and long-term use come into question. The reality is however, that the number of people who “vape” and smoke with electronic cigarettes has increased rapidly. Researchers estimate the number of adults using these devices will top 55 million by 2021.

While the jury is still out over whether or not e-cigarettes are safer than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, the fact that their disposal plays a key role in the health and safety of the public and environment is an important point we’d like to touch upon.

Nicotine is a commercial chemical and while regulations for e-cigarettes are still happening, it’s important to understand the correct disposal steps needed to keep everyone safe.

There are many components that make up a vape pen or e-cigarette so the disposal process is also complex.

When there is no more flavored nicotine solution left, or a disposable pen is ready to be tossed, it is recommended that users properly dispose of the cartridge and remove the filler material, atomizer, and rinse it under water so all of the nicotine residue comes out. It should then be wrapped in a piece of biodegradable material. The cartridge should also be rinsed to get any nicotine remnants off and should be sealed. These items once rinsed, can be tossed with other plastic waste.

The other part of an e-cigarette is the battery. Since these are made of lithium ion, they must be disposed of according to electronic waste guidelines. If you do not have any take-back programs for electronic waste in your area, manufacturers recommend that they be cooled, fully discharged, and placed into a container with cold saltwater. After two weeks the battery may be wrapped in paper and tossed in the trash.

Failing to take these steps can leave household pets, children and the environment at danger of coming in contact with toxic nicotine waste. Dispose responsibly.

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