Various disposable electronic cigarettes. Concept of modern alternative smoking, vaping and nicotine.

How to dispose of vapes properly

Healthy Planet  |  By

Did you know?

In the UK 1.3 million single use vapes are binned every week [1]. But have you ever been told how to safely and properly dispose of them?

In recent years vapes have become a popular alternative to smoking, especially amongst young people. Statistics show a rise from 4% of the UK in 2021 to 8.6% in 2022. This has unfortunately resulted in a higher use of disposable, single use vapes. In 2022, disposable vapes were used by 52.8% of young people who currently vaped, in comparison to 7.8% in 2021[2].

With this huge rise, what happens when the disposable vape is finished?

Please note: Smoking and vaping is bad for your health. For help to stop vaping or smoking, head to the NHS website.


Can I put vapes in the dustbin?

A black outlined icon of a dustbin with a cross through it
WEEE Symbol


No, disposable vapes contain a battery full of harmful chemicals which if left on landfill will eventually breakdown. This then leaks harmful chemicals into the soil which can lead to water and air pollution[3].

Vapes actually include the WEEE symbol  (a crossed out wheelie bin, as pictured above) meaning it cannot be placed in a household waste bin[4]. Electrical appliances should be carefully disposed of to avoid polluting the environment and saving valuable resources.

Why should I recycle my vapes?

Scarce Resources

Not only does placing vapes in household waste contribute to pollution but vapes also include precious materials which should be recycled. This includes things such as copper, aluminum and even Lithium batteries which can be recycles into Electric car batteries.

Did you know?

Materials in single use vapes thrown away every year could power 1200 electric     vehicles[5].


Vapes can have an enormous impact on the environment if not recycled correctly. Including increasing the demand for scare resources as well as the risk to air and water pollution.

Risk to Refuse workers 

Disposing of vapes in a public waste bin can be a health and safety and fire risk. If the lithium battery is damaged in the bin or while in transit to landfill it could ignite like a firework which could cause significant injuries to those handling this waste[6].


How do I recycle my disposable vapes?

If you can, remove the battery from the vape and recycle this separately. Don’t worry if you’re unable to remove the battery, you can still recycle the vape as a whole. Place all your vapes into a bag until you’re able to recycle them. Some areas may collect small electronics with your household recycling or you may be able to take them to your local recycling centre. To find out the best way to recycle your vapes in your area check out this website.


What happens to my old vape when I recycle it?

Once your vape is received by the recycling centre, batteries will be removed and the remaining vape will be broken down and categorised by materials such as metals and plastics which are then cleaned. Metals are melted down into smelters so they can be reused. Plastic materials are then sent on for further processing.

This year ‘National No Smoking Day’ 2023 is on March 8th, in a bid to give up smoking many people swap to vaping as it’s stereotypically viewed as a less harmful option[7]. For more information on this check out our blog on whether you should vape to give up smoking.



[1] Recycle vapes – Find a local recycling point (
[2] Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update main findings – GOV.UK (
[3] Can we fix our way out of the growing e-waste problem? – BBC News
[4] WEEE – what does the label mean, EU requirements – Your Europe (
[5] Recycle vapes – Find a local recycling point (
[6] CDP-2022-0216.pdf (
[7] Vaping to quit smoking – Better Health – NHS (

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