Over 90% of vape producers are failing to meet UK environmental regulations

New research conducted by Material Focus shows 90% of smaller vape and vape juice producers in the UK have failed to comply with regulations for waste electricals, portable batteries and packaging.

The analysis states larger vape producers and importers which have only recently registered in the UK are not covering the true costs of collection and recycling, as vapes are falling under normal small electrical items rather than their own category.  

man in yellow jacket smoking

Material Focus, the not-for-profit organisation leading the ‘Recycle Your Electricals’ campaign, examined company records of over 150 of the most significant vape and vape juice producers in the UK to conduct their research, which was published this week. 

Experts identified that only 16 producers had registered to comply with environmental regulations for producer responsibility of waste electricals, portable batteries and packaging.

However, Material Focus says the companies identified have not registered with the UK environment agencies as regulations require them to contribute to the costs of recycling vape products and packaging once they run out.

After conducting some calculations the charity discovered that if all of the 138 million single-use vapes that are bought annually in the UK were financed to be recycled, this would cost the producers up to £69m each year.

Last year, Material Focus completed similar research that exposed at least 1.3 million disposable vapes were littered and binned incorrectly each week. The devices contain a range of precious materials, including lithium and copper.

‘The environmental responsibilities of vape producers are very clear,’ said Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus. ‘Any company that is producing significant quantities of electrical items is required to register, report their sales and finance the cost of their product being recycled.

‘We are calling on disposable single-use vape consumers to put pressure on retailers to make it possible for them to drop off their vapes in-store’, he continued. ‘Vape producer, importers and retailers need to be held to account, and step up to the plate by making sure that we do not lose the precious materials contained inside these vapes.’

Image: Mohamad Hajizade


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