Ever wondered if vaping is eco-friendly? or considered how much the vape industry contributes to our carbon footprint?
The number of vapers has been increasing rapidly over the years, the BBC report that vapers have increased from about 7 million in 2011 to over 41 million in 2018 and Euromonitor, a market research group, estimates that the number of adults vaping will reach 55 million by 2021.
So is this new trend eco-friendly? In this blog post we delve deep into the ways in which vaping is or isn’t eco-friendly and give you a couple of tips on how to be more eco-friendly when it comes to vaping.
The Environmental Impact of Smoking
Most vapers smoked cigarettes before they made the switch to vaping. Therefore, when looking at the environmental impact of vaping, it is important to look at the environmental impact of smoking – by making the switch to vaping you’re already making an eco-friendly choice.
So, before we delve into the environmental impact vaping has upon our environment, let’s take a minute to look at the environmental impact of the tobacco industry.
Trillions of cigarette buts are thrown into the environment each year, where they leach nicotine and heavy metals before turning into microplastic pollution.
According to National Geographic, a recent study found that cigarette butts inhibit plant growth. They also routinely get into waterways, and eventually oceans.
It is reported that each year nearly 600 million trees are destroyed globally to provide fuel to dry tobacco. One tree is destroyed for every 300 cigarettes! It’s clear to see that smoking isn’t very eco-friendly.
The Environmental Impact of Vaping
On the whole, vaping is a more eco-friendly option to smoking cigarettes. While it has its downfalls, if you choose to be an eco-friendly vaper, you’re causing much less damage to the environment.
We’re not smoking. We’re not polluting the air by burning thousands of carcinogenic chemicals into the atmosphere constantly. That’s something at least. We suspect the pollution caused pales in significance when compared to the plastics situation but it’s still worth noting.
As soon as the Tobacco Products Directives new rules on vaping were announced, little monkeys behind the vaping scenes began to search for loopholes. The main concern was that nicotine containing eliquid could not be sold in larger than 10ml bottles. Thus, the shortfill was born. A large bottle of eliquid containing no nicotine that comes with a separate 10ml bottle containing nicotine intended for the consumer to combine the two before use. This idea was originally championed by small social media based eliquid sellers but was soon adopted by almost every eliquid company on the market and has now become an industry standard.
But how much unnecessary plastic waste does this create? A lot. If your average vaper uses between 10-20ml a day, presuming they are using 50ml shortfills and a 10ml nicotine shot they are getting through between 150 and 250 plastic bottles a year.
Now times that by the 3.5 Million plus vapers in the UK and that is an insane amount of plastic. Luckily, PET and HDPE (the materials generally used to accommodate eliquid) are easily recyclable but recycling isn’t magic. It requires energy to run recycling plants and how many of you actually wash out and dispose of your used eliquid bottles in the recycling bins?
Disposable pods (like Juuls for example) are not the best way to vape, and they’re certainly not eco-friendly. Heavy on plastic and heavy on your wallet. Generally, they are not considered recyclable due to needing to be dismantled, having the none plastic waste removed and then washed and since many of you lot can’t be bothered to throw bottles in the recycling it seems highly unlikely there are lots of people out there going to these extents to recycle pods. Luckily for the UK disposable pods are not especially popular when compared to other countries but they are beginning to gain popularity with Dinner Lady and other high-profile companies recently entering the market.
Vegetable Glycerine usually makes up at least 50% of an eliquid and can come from many different sources. In the UK and much of Europe, we commonly use rapeseed or a mixture of rapeseed and vegetable derived glycerine. It has very little environmental impact due to it being a by-product of the manufacturing process for biodiesels.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world commonly uses palm derived glycerine which is responsible for or at the very least contributes to large amounts of deforestation of the rainforests. Not cool. Not Eco-friendly.
Top Tips for Eco-Conscious Vapers
If you are an eco-friendly warrior, or looking to do your pat for the environment, we’ve got a few tips to help you become more eco-friendly.
Look into DIY Vaping – if plastic waste is a concern for you eco-friendly warriors, why not venture into DIY vaping rather than purchasing multiple shortfills? Our Boss Shots come in both 250ml and 500ml bottles, plus you can resusethe bottles afterwards if you’d like!
Dispose of your batteries in a safe manner – to ensure you’re being as eco-friendly as possible, make sure that you dispose of your battery by recycling in a designated battery bin.
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your batteries – turn your e-cig off in between vaping will help to prolong the life of your battery.
Use a refillable vaping device – if you are a regular vaper and looking to be more eco-friendly, make sure you’re using a refillable vaping device rather than single use, or disposable cig-a-like.
Recycle your plastics – when we think of being eco-friendly, plastic is the first thing that comes to mind. make sure that you recycle all eliquid bottles – you’ll be pleased to know that all of our bottles are fully recyclable. most vaping gear can be recycled too, if you break your device down into constituent parts.
Ditch the pre-made coil and build your own – Not only is this more eco-friendly, it’ll save you a good chunk of money too – winner! Opt for a device that lets you build your coils rather than using stock coils to reduce waste.