GreenAwareness, a programme by disposable vape brand Elfbar aimed at driving public awareness of single-use vape recycling and reducing the product’s waste impact, has launched a two-day pop-up in Covent Garden, London last week.
The event, held on 8-9 December, has showcased the programme’s progress in the collection, transportation and dismantling of single-use vapes and the future reuse of vape components, aligning with its ambition of achieving closed-loop status.
The pop-up also had GreenAwareness recycling bins on display and unveiled a conceptual single-use vape designed to simplify the dismantling process for recycling with easier battery separation.
“All the external recycling waste partners we have engaged with, including Recover and TES, agree that single-use vapes are highly recyclable with many reusable components, including the battery. The pop-up is about letting the public know they can return their used vapes for recycling,” Eve Peters, director of government affairs for the UK and spokesperson for Elfbar, commented.
As part of this effort, the programme provides free recycle bins to retail and convenience stores to encourage vape take-backs. This initiative follows research indicating that the availability of vape recycling bins in the shops where vapes sell is the most effective way to facilitate their return for recycling.
“Recognising the thousands of existing vape recycling points across the UK available through the Material Focus recycling locator, we understand that millions of vapes are already undergoing collection for disassembly. GreenAwareness’ independent efforts complement this by advancing the recycling process for single-use vapes,” Peters added.
The programme’s pilot initiative has seen promising results, with 80,000 returns in total since June from the initial 70 stores participating in the pilot.
“From this modest start, momentum is gaining as more bins arrive in retail and convenience stores across the UK. As the programme evolves, so will the development of supporting infrastructure to enhance single-use vape recycling throughout the chain. Battery test charging to determine suitability for further use and washing techniques to advance plastic reuse are already being conducted to amplify efforts,” Peters said.
The programme is all set for a 900-bin rollout with a nationwide retailer.