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Sustainability in Vaping: Confronting the Environmental Impact

By Flonq 15th April 2024 4 Mins


In the battle against tobacco, vaping appeared to offer a safer alternative to traditional smoking. However, over time, attention has shifted to a different aspect, revealing environmental concerns regarding disposables. The question now is: how can the industry address this issue? The vaping brand Flonq is considering potential sustainable solutions, rather than relying solely on a vape ban.

Reconnecting with the original purpose of vaping

There is a guiding fact: tobacco kills, and it does so significantly. According to the WHO, tobacco causes more than 8 million deaths each year, including an estimated 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

While a variety of initiatives have been implemented to confront the global tobacco epidemic, e-cigarettes, including disposables, have gained prominence as an alternative approach to smoking cessation.

For many cigarette smokers, vape devices can serve as a pathway to a tobacco smoke-free lifestyle, easing the process of quitting. For example, in 2024 the New England Journal of Medicine published a report that showed that almost 30% of smokers who were given free e-cigarettes, e-liquids and counselling were still tobacco free at the 6-month period, compared to just over 16% who received a standard counselling.

Yet, it started off so well

It is understandable why disposables have settled and gained market share; they offer numerous benefits, including simplicity, versatility in design and flavour, and the convenience of not requiring recharging or refilling. They can be used almost anywhere and mimic a familiar smoking experience.

But then, there’s the environmental cost.

Disposable vapes consist of a variety of materials, with plastic posing an issue, although not the only one. Despite being encased in plastic, the main concerning component of vapes is the lithium inside the battery. On average, each single-use vape contains 0.15g of lithium. 

According to research conducted by Material Focus, a British environmental non-profit, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the number of disposables thrown away in the UK accumulates up to 10 tones of lithium per year. This quantity could potentially supply batteries for over 1,200 electric vehicles.

Disposables are simply discarded without being disassembled and properly recycled, meaning this valuable material is not reused and lost forever.

A simple vape ban is not the answer

Despite growing concerns about their environmental impact, simply eliminating disposables altogether and forever might not be the best idea. With an estimated 82 million vapers worldwide, banning disposables could potentially drive part of them back to tobacco products or set the stage for the black market emergence.

So, for the sake of the industry, it is important to consider and address the environmental issues posed by disposables. One possible response could be to establish proper methods for recycling vapes.

Producers and retailers need to work together, and ensure the awareness that vapes should not be binned but recycled. And the vape recycling needs to be made easier.

That being said, Flonq is taking action.

We do care: Flonq sustainable vaping solutions

Many vape consumers are responsible enough to understand the importance of vape recycling. The issue lies in the lack of accessible solutions to do so. It may seem like the only way is to arm oneself with a pair of scissors (please, don’t do that).

Flonq has been working in offering solutions for sustainable vaping and easy recycling. The brand intentionally engineered an eco-friendly disposable vape — its flagship device, the Flonq Plus E

Each part of the device can be easily separated by simply turning the bottom part to the right. Afterwards, they can be disposed of in their respective bins for plastic, mixed, and battery waste.

Additionally, Flonq is addressing not only how to disassemble the device but also where to throw them away for further recycling.

To offer accessible disposal options, Flonq has initiated an e-cigarette recycling program aimed at reducing environmental impact. The project involves installing recycling Flonq eco bins specifically designed for used vaping devices. All collected e-cigarettes are delivered to processing sites for recycling.

While the program is currently being implemented in various regions, Flonq aims to expand the installation of eco bins to more store locations worldwide. Positive results have already been observed; in 2023, the company successfully recycled 15 tons of waste in Eastern Europe alone. They assure that more progress is on the horizon.

Topics: Recommended, Sustainability


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