The inside of a disposable vape, including the lithium battery
Published date: 29 January 2024

North London Waste Authority welcomes disposable vapes ban

London’s largest waste authority has welcomed government plans to ban unnecessary and unsustainable disposable vapes.  

Today’s announcement acknowledges the dual devastating impact single-use vapes have on the environment and the health and wellbeing of their target audience - our young people.

Due to their complex material composition, disposable vapes are logistically difficult, labour intensive and expensive to recycle.

Five million of them are currently thrown away in the UK each week, up from 1.3 million in 2022. Over a year, the lithium batteries inside could instead power 5,000 electric vehicles.   

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of North London Waste Authority (NLWA), said: “Disposable vapes are currently contributing to the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. They are polluting our planet and destroying vital resources, with the precious metals they contain being depleted at an unsustainable rate.  

“As the second largest waste authority in the UK, we have been clear that urgent action is needed as the burden of disposal cannot continue to fall on taxpayers, especially when there are reusable alternatives readily available. 

“We’re pleased that the Government has acknowledged the positive impact this ban will have on tackling the climate emergency and protecting the environment for future generations, as well as safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our young people. If the Government is serious about our green transition and moving away from a dangerous throwaway culture, it needs to be ambitious and crack down on the many other wasteful single-use products, from coffee cups to artificial grass. 

“Our voices are stronger together so we are thankful to all those who used our template to complete the Government's consultation and help secure this positive outcome.” 

Last year, NLWA wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment and Minister for Environment calling for a ban on the sale and manufacture of disposable vapes.  

The authority also created a template response for individuals, businesses and organisations wishing to take part in the Government’s smokefree generation consultation. In total, more than 25,000 responses were submitted.  

Residents should take single-use vapes to one of north London’s eight reuse and recycling centres or use a take-back scheme. Due to the battery inside, they are a fire hazard and should not be put in household waste or recycling bins.  

More information on how to dispose of them is available here.