Could the disposable sector face being stamped out if it fails to minimise its impact on the planet and earn a green thumbs-up from eco-activists?
As all you green-thinkers, eco-warriors and committed blue bin http://blog.istreetpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Elf-Bar-BC5000-Disposable-Vape-1.webps will know, World Environmental Day is just around the corner. It’s at this time of year that concerns about our planet – or more accurately how we need to act now and save it – hit a peak.
Brands face calls to clean up their act, politicians engage in climate discussions and social media floods with post upon post demanding a slew of single-use products be banned. Plastic bottles, bags, sweet wrappers and straws are usually at the top of this prohibition ‘wish list’, but there’s a new offender attracting the attention of environmental activists…disposable vapes.
You wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find a news story that mentions how these ‘colourful tubes’ are so-often discarded on city streets, or an impassioned plea for the so-called wasteful devices to be wiped clean from the Earth.
One of the most vocal figures in the disposable conversation is award-winning climate activist and eco-scientist Laura Young. The ethical influencer was thrust into sustainability stardom after she posted a video of herself hunting down single-use vapes that had been littered along a four-mile stretch of Dundee, Scotland.
During the hour-long expedition, Young says she found 55 devices – that’s almost one per minute – saying many of them were wet and damaged from being left outside.
The PhD student even runs her own website – ‘Less Waste Laura’ – with a section dedicated to her anti-disposable campaign and was most recently involved in an All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Environment panel discussion on banning the single-use smoking alternative.
Others in attendance at the APPG meeting included Alex Heal of the Financial Times, MP Caroline Johnson, MP Selaine Saxby, Green Alliance’s Libby Peake, Minister for the Environment Rebecca Pow and the UKVIA’s John Dunne.
The Scottish government has also expressed particular concern about the impact of disposables on the planet, launching a consultation on whether the devices should be banned that will ultimately be decided on environmental factors alone and won’t consider the harm reduction benefits.
Members of the vape community have warned against such a ban, stressing that, while something needs to be done to offset the impact of disposables, the decision to remove them outright would represent a major loss for tobacco control.
John Dunne of the UK Vaping Industry Association – which recently hosted the nation’s first ever environmental summit on vaping – said: “Make no mistake, protecting our planet is a top priority…but it cannot be achieved at the expense of public health.
“The industry recognises the part it has to play in finding effective solutions and supports balanced efforts to minimise the impact of vaping on the environment. It was made clear at our ‘Greenprint’ summit that concerns are at an all-time high both inside and outside the industry. It’s important for regulators, the industry and those dealing with the recycling and environmental aspects of this issue, to all come together to seek a common solution… this problem is not going to go away without action.”
Dunne continued: “Banning single-use vapes would NOT help the hundreds of people who die daily from smoking related illnesses and there is plenty that can, and must, be done before we reach that point. ”
The UKVIA director general added that we must ensure importers, manufacturers and retailers are ‘meeting their environmental responsibilities’, pointing out that they’re ‘committing a criminal offence’ if they don’t.
Some individual brands have already upped the ante when it comes to eco-consciousness, taking steps to improve sustainability and minimise their impact on the planet.
ANDS, a burgeoning alternative nicotine company from the Middle East is one of the names leading the charge on this front and has pooled resources and research into developing a single-use device made using biodegradable materials.
The brand, which is poised to enter the UK market, has also created a scheme that would encourage consumers to get rid of their devices in a more green-friendly way.
Dr Marina Murphy, Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs with ANDS, said: “Our product has been designed to allow for highly effective dismantling and we have partnered with specialist waste disposal company Waste Experts to create a recycling program that greatly simplifies the process of collection.
“A fast and efficient recycling process also reduces waste management costs, which helps to keep product prices competitive, creating a win-win for the environment and adult consumers who value our products. Working hand-in-hand with the waste industry, as we have done, is key to finding a solution that will reduce the impact of vaping on the environment. ”
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