UK to ban disposable vapes to curb youth uptake and environmental impact

Posted on 29th January, 2024

It has come as no surprise to us at Wastecare, and the wider waste management and compliance sector, that the government has announced today (Monday 29th Jan) the intention to ban disposable vapes in the UK. As well as banning single-use devices, the government is expected to introduce restrictions on flavours and marketing, as well as implementing higher taxes on vape products.


We know that as with any new bill, the likelihood of this ban being enforced is likely to come with an extended timeline of enforcement. Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has been quoted saying she was “confident the new bill would pass Parliament the time of the general election [expected to be this year] – with it coming into force in early 2025”.

The driving force behind the ban lies in the concern for rising numbers of youths taking up the habit due to the ease of access and sweet flavours of these vapes. However just as prevalent has been the environmental concerns regarding improper disposal and battery-related fires. The spotlight was firmly on the need for a solution when Material Focus published its findings last year on disposable vapes, calculating that a shocking 5 million vapes are thrown away every week. Undoubtedly this figure will have risen since then.

Like many in the industry, we are interested to see how the following is addressed in the coming months:

What will classify as a ‘disposable’ vape in regard to design

If there will be extended measures put into place to manage the illegal vape market. The Guardian revealed last year that millions of illegal and harmful vapes had been seized by trading standards in the past three years, with experts warning “this was likely to be the tip of the iceberg and that a “tsunami” of products were flooding in.”

Impact on funding solutions for disposable vape recycling once it becomes an illegal market

Whilst these questions amongst many others roll on – we cannot neglect the importance of spreading awareness amongst the public on responsible vape recycling. Disposable vapes will continue to be sold and discarded as this public consultation on smoking and vaping is driven forward – therefore the waste management sector must not lose momentum in pushing out collection points and educating users.

With over 5,500 vape collection points and counting, we at Wastecare will endeavour to continue pushing forward with responsible vape recycling and provide support and guidance to retailers and producers alike.

For more information on disposable vape collection and recycling, please contact our team at sales.enquiries@wastecare.co.uk or call 0800 091 0000.

If you are a vape producer or importer into the UK and would like to know more about your producer compliance obligation, contact our compliance team: compliance@wastecare.co.uk