Thursday, May 23, 2024

Vaping Industry Calls Out Local Authorities for Neglecting Investment in E-Cigarette Recycling Facilities

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The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has issued a strong critique of local authorities across the UK, pointing to a significant shortfall in investment for e-cigarette collection points. This concern is echoed by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), which comprises twenty local authority waste management officers who have also expressed their disappointment with the criticism.

LARAC has countered by highlighting the burden local authorities bear in managing vape waste and has advocated for governmental intervention. They suggest the implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework to alleviate financial pressures on local bodies by placing more responsibility on retailers and manufacturers, fostering a circular economy.

Additionally, the committee has appealed to producers to cover the full costs associated with collecting and recycling disposable devices, particularly in the lead-up to the government’s planned ban on single-use vapes set for April 2025.

Investigation by the UKVIA, which involved Freedom of Information requests to various councils, revealed that only 60% of local authorities provide waste disposal at designated facilities, with a mere 10% offering waste containers in public spaces. More starkly, a third of these councils lack any form of waste disposal containers or drop-off points at civic amenity sites.

The findings also showed that only one out of ten councils included in the survey have put in place kerbside or household vape collection schemes. A staggering 80% of these councils have no intentions to invest in vape waste solutions in the near future, except for Wandsworth Borough Council, which plans to introduce a network of small WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) collection bins with support from non-profits.

John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, criticized the local authorities’ stance, stating, “Advocating a ban on disposable vapes on environmental grounds while not committing any investment to vape waste collection is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.” He emphasized that while the vaping industry is poised to enhance its environmental compliance, the responsibility should not solely fall on businesses without corresponding support from local governments for public vape waste collection facilities.

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