The first phase of the innovative program launched by Vapo, Alt New Zealand and TerraCycle, enabled vapers across New Zealand to drop off their e-cig waste at any Vapo store in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson.
However as of last month, the items can also be conveniently collected from one’s home and/or sent by post. To recycle from home, interested parties must sign up to the programme at www.terracycle.com and collect their waste in any available cardboard box (up to four batteries per shipment). If opting for the post option, senders need to print off a free shipping label, then drop the waste off (with the label attached) at their nearest post office.
The complexity of e-cig waste
“We will turn the waste into new products such as outdoor furniture, something we have done many times in the past. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy.”
E-cigarette waste is considered problematic due to the complexity of separating out the different materials. However, when Vapo first approached TerraCycle for a recycling solution for their products, General Manager Jean Bailliard said the company would do its utmost.
“The process of recycling e-waste is far more complex than traditional forms of waste, however it is not impossible. As TerraCycle’s mission is to eliminate the idea of waste, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prove that technically, everything is recyclable.”
“We will turn the waste into new products such as outdoor furniture, something we have done many times in the past. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy,” Bailliard said.
Whether the materials come through a store drop off, collection or mail, TerraCycle will disassemble and separate Alt and Vapo Haiz vaping devices into their different metal/electrical components, batteries and plastics. The plastics will then be shredded and melted in order to be reused, whilst the metals and batteries will be separated and recovered.
$1 to be donated to charity for every kg of waste
Additionally, Vapo and Alt have committed to donating $1 towards Kiwi charity, Sustainable Coastlines, for every kilogram of vaping equipment sent to TerraCycle. Co-director of Vapo and Alt New Zealand, Jonathan Devery, said they are excited to launch this first-of-its-kind program.
“Not only is vaping much safer than smoking, our products are now also much more environmentally friendlier. A national litter audit this year found that more than 10 billion cigarette butts pollute New Zealand’s ecosystem. We don’t want to be like the tobacco industry! Instead, we’re committed to a smoke-free country and a sustainable future,” he said.
Piloting Recycling Programs to Target E-Cigarette Waste
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