Disposing of electronic cigarettes: the complete (and easily explained) guide to doing it the right way
More and more people are deciding to use e-cigarettes as, in some ways, they are a more eco-friendly choice than traditional cigarettes.
The e-cig does not produce the smoke of combustion that is harmful to health nor the so-called butts that we find every day in the streets, pavements, parks, and even beaches.
However, an electronic cigarette is made up of several parts, so it is unthinkable to think of disposing of them by throwing them in the rubbish bin.
That is why in this article we will see how to dispose of each component of the electronic cigarette correctly.
What to know to dispose of electronic cigarettes correctly
An electronic cigarette is made up of many components: heating element, battery, e-liquid, etc.
For this reason, you cannot just throw it all in the bin: each part has a specific destination and must be disposed of correctly.
To understand how to do this, let us start at the beginning.
You have to know that the e-cigarette falls into the category of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which is considered special waste that cannot be disposed of immediately and altogether. In other words, the e-cig has to be broken down, and each element will be destined for specific disposal and/or recycling route.
This is because e-cigs are not biodegradable and are composed of environmentally harmful substances that cannot end up in an incinerator.
Therefore, to respect the ecosystem, all municipalities are obliged to manage the disposal of this special waste. Of course, not everyone will use electronic cigarettes, but most of us will have at least one television set in the house or another household appliance that we might want to get rid of one day.
So if you dispose of the electronic cigarette correctly (now let’s get into the matter), you will also be able to recover all the recyclable parts of the device.
E-cig disposal: to each component its destination
This is certainly the question most often asked by vapers: where do you throw away the resistance?
This is because in some types of e-cigarettes the atomizer and resistance have to be changed periodically.
As it is an electronic device, you will have to dispose of it at an ecological waste disposal site or, if the municipality provides for this, in a special bin for small WEEE waste.
It is forbidden to dispose of expired e-liquid down the household drain.
As you probably know, e-liquid is composed of two main substances:
- vegetable glycerine;
- propylene glycol.
Due to its composition, it cannot even be disposed of in the appropriate containers for expired medicines: in fact, it is forbidden in some municipalities.
Unfortunately, there are no specific regulations at the moment, so the best idea is to collect all expired liquids inside a glass bottle and take them to the waste disposal site.
#3 Containers for liquids
As a rule, e-liquid containers are made of plastic, so the answer is quite simple. Before disposing of it in the appropriate container, however, you should always clean the container.
All batteries are part of WEEE, including those used in electronic cigarettes.
As you can imagine, they are certainly among the most harmful and toxic waste for the environment.
In the case of electronic cigarettes, these are simple lithium batteries, which should be disposed of in the appropriate containers for batteries and non-working batteries.
Not sure where to dispose of your electronic cigarette? Here are the symbols to help you do it the right way.
As a rule, each electronic cigarette has a small symbol of a crossed-out bin, which means that the product may not be disposed of in the unsorted municipal waste bin.
We refer to Art. 6 of l.d. 151/05, which we quote below:
“Distributors shall ensure, at the time of supply of a new electrical and electronic equipment intended for a household, the free take-back, on a one-for-one basis, of the used equipment, provided that it is of an equivalent type and has performed the same functions as the new equipment supplied.”
So, we have said that it is possible to dispose of e-cig components on an ecological island, but it is also true that retailers are obliged by law to take them back free of charge, in the same way as they do for the most common old or non-functioning household appliances.
If you have further doubts about the proper disposal of your e-cigarette, you can decide to:
- Contact your retailer;
- enquire at your local council.
In this article, we have seen how and where to dispose of an e-cigarette and all its components in an environmentally friendly manner.
As you will have read, it is essential to dispose of them correctly so as not to leak toxic and harmful substances, and every municipality must ensure that this is possible.