How to offer a Vape Collection & Recycling Service: Understanding the UK’s Vape Takeback Requirements

Posted on 1st March, 2024

Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations in the UK, vape retailers will no longer be a part of the Distributor Takeback Scheme. Instead, all retailers selling vapes are obligated to provide customers with a service for the proper disposal of their vapes and e-cigs. Retailers must offer a vape takeback scheme from 1st April 2024.

Retailers will be required to takeback vapes that offer the same function as those they sell in store – which is determined by functionality not brand. The return of vapes is on a ‘one for one’ basis, however this must be a free of charge service.

To set up a recycling service retailers must have an appropriate collection point in-store, and partner with an authorised waste management provider to ensure the safe disposal and recycling of the collected vapes. We would encourage retailers to enquire with their vape supplier(s) to establish if they have a vape collection scheme already in place.

Failure to adhere to these regulations not only exposes retailers to potential legal repercussions, but also continues to contribute to the environmental degradation caused by vapes thrown into general waste.

Wastecare Vape Takeback BinsWastecare Vape Takeback

Wastecare have currently rolled out 8,000 vape collection bins nationwide, and this number continues to grow. We have designed four battery collection containers to accommodate retailer floor or counter space requirements, capable of safely collecting a large volume of vapes. These are available to purchase by both individual retailers or vape producers who wish to roll out a takeback scheme across their distributor network.

More information on vape retailer takeback requirements can be found here.

For more information on Wastecare’s vape takeback services, please get in touch with the team at sales.enquiries@wastecare.co.uk, or call 0800 091 0000.

Vape FAQs

What vapes can be collected?

Both disposable and reusable vapes can be collected. We would encourage retailers to also have a battery collection bin alongside their vape bin. This enables customers who can disassemble their vapes to dispose of the battery separately ready for recycling.

How often do vape bins need to be collected?

It is the retailer’s responsibility to organise a collection with Wastecare once their bin is nearly full. We would recommend organising scheduled collection when a store’s average collection volume has been established.

Do the vape collection bins need to contain vermiculite?

No. Vermiculite when used to mitigate the risks associated with lithium-based batteries is used as a separation material to prevent ignition upon contact with one another. Upon assessment, the same risks do not apply to vapes as the lithium battery and their terminals are enclosed.

What happens to the vapes once they are collected?

Currently, many vape recyclers are having to dismantle vapes by hand in order to retrieve the lithium battery, nicotine fluid and filters for recycling and/or recovery.

This process is resource-heavy and expensive; therefore we are currently trialing a mechanised dismantling process for vapes into order to keep our costs low and increase efficiency.