Vaping is quickly becoming the consumption method of choice for marijuana enthusiasts. A 2017 survey found that 15 percent of Canadians have tried a vaping product before. As vaping continues to increase in popularity, we can only assume that number has increased quite a bit over the last four years.
Also called e-cigarettes, vape pens offer a unique way for people to enjoy cannabis: by inhaling vapour instead of smoke. People enjoy using vapes for many reasons, including their portability and discreet nature. Plus, the vapour you inhale from a vape can be easier on your lungs than inhaling harsh smoke from a joint.
Although vaping offers users many benefits, a bit of a dark cloud hangs over the vaping industry: the waste vapes leave behind.
Disposing of used vape oil cartridges and even the batteries in the vape is a little more complicated than users may realize. In a world where recycling and taking care of the planet are more of a focus than ever (especially for younger generations), proper disposal of vape cartridges is a hot topic.
The Makeup of a Vape Pen
A vape pen has four main components:
- The mouthpiece, through which users inhale the vapour
- A battery, which can be rechargeable and powers the pen
- Cartridge (or tank), in which the cannabis oil is housed
- Atomizer, the heating element that creates the vapour from the oil
There are two main types of vape pens: disposable and refillable.
Refillable vape pens can have cartridges replaced as they run out. The battery is rechargeable, allowing people to use the pen multiple times.
A disposable vape pen comes with a precharged battery and a prefilled tank with your chosen oil. The pen is only for one-time use. Once the user is done and the oil has been consumed, it can be disposed of.
Proper disposal of vape cartridges is important, especially for those who use disposable vapes. If not disposed of properly, disposable vapes can worsen the problem of waste and pollution.
Can You Recycle Your Vape Cartridges?
No, you cannot recycle your vape cartridge when you are finished with it. Unlike other recyclables, vapes and their parts cannot be simply put in the recycle bin and wheeled out to the curb.
Cartridges (and pens) consist of many different materials, some of which recycling facilities cannot properly process. The cartridge may also contain leftover oil residue, which can leak out and cause problems for the environment.
By the same token, the lithium batteries contained in vape pens are considered hazardous materials. They require a specialized disposal process. This means that tossing any part of your vape pen into the trash is not a good idea.
How to Dispose of Vape Cartridges
Since you can’t recycle your cartridge, vape pen, or battery, what can you do? You don’t want a collection of used cartridges to start taking over your home.
Although you cannot dispose of them in your bin, there are options to get rid of your vape accessories when you are done using them.
Many cannabis companies that make vape pens and their parts are working to provide a solution to the vape disposal problem in Canada. They also don’t want these items flooding local landfills or making their way to recycling facilities that don’t have the capability to process them.
Many Canadian vape manufacturers now offer vape e-cycling programs. They will allow users to return their used and empty cartridges to the manufacturers, who will then dispose of them properly. Some companies even offer incentives to encourage people to take this course of action instead of just tossing vape accessories in the trash.
Getting rid of your cartridges on your own may be the easier route. However, the more eco-friendly route is sending them back to the manufacturer for proper disposal.
There also are other things you can do to encourage government agencies and cannabis manufacturers to continue to look for ways to make vaping more environmentally friendly when it comes to disposal.
- First, look for products made by companies that focus on sustainability. What type of packaging do they use? What steps has the company taken to reduce its carbon footprint?
- Consider using disposable vapes only occasionally. Although disposable vape pens are easier to use, consider investing in a refillable one. Then you can take your disposable on the go (if needed) while keeping your refillable vape at home. This is a simple way you can be environmentally conscious while vaping.
- If you don’t know how to get rid of your vape cartridge when you’re done with it, don’t guess. Instead, you have to find answers. You can reach out to the manufacturer directly or contact your online dispensary for help.
As vaping continues to grow in popularity and more and more countries legalize the use of marijuana, we can only assume more ideas on ways to dispose of vape cartridges will become available.
The cannabis industry is working hard to ensure vape cartridges don’t become the next straw or K-Cup fiasco. Nobody wants cartridges piling up in landfills and having a negative impact on the environment.
However, recycling used oil cartridges isn’t an option either. You should also not just toss your empty cartridge in the trash.
Instead, be part of your manufacturer’s recycling program. You can usually find information on the manufacturer’s website. You can also consult your cannabis dispensary for information on how to dispose of vape cartridges and batteries.
Although taking part in a return program can be extra work on your part, it is undoubtedly worth it. Taking care of our planet is more important than ever. Keeping cartridges and other dangerous vaping equipment out of landfills is essential in achieving this goal. Taking the time to dispose of vaping parts correctly plays a crucial role.