03 July 2023

Aberdeenshire Council voices support for possible ban of single use disposable vapes in Scotland

Aberdeenshire Council is to voice its support for a possible ban of single use disposable vapes in Scotland with the Scottish Government.

The move follows a notice of motion by Councillor Sarah Dickinson at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday (Jun 29) in which she highlighted the health and environmental concerns associated with the devices.

In her motion Cllr Dickinson highlighted concerns over the relatively low price of single use vapes and their appeal to young people, and the environmental impacts of their improper disposal or dumping.

The Scottish Government is currently conducting a review, led by Zero Waste Scotland, of the environmental impacts and management of single use vapes, including consideration of a ban.

With the short life devices typically lasting for only around 600 ‘puffs’ before they require complete replacement, an increasing number of local authorities in Scotland are voicing support for a change in legislation.

Speaking at the council meeting, Cllr Dickinson said: “Single use disposable vapes are an inappropriate use of precious resources. They have a rising environmental impact as litter. They present risks when not disposed of safely and they present risks to the health of young people.

For these reasons, I hope you will support calling on the Scottish Government to consider new legislation banning the sale of single use disposable vapes in Scotland.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr David Keating, who said: “I agree completely with the fact that these single-use vapes constitute an additional health risk to our young people.

“However, what is required is consideration of how best to address the issue, with the ban certainly one option, especially given the availability of non-disposable vapes.”

Councillors unanimously agreed that Chief Executive Jim Savege should write to the Scottish Government to express the council’s support for a possible ban.

The approach will highlight the potential detrimental impact on the future health of young people, the rising environmental impact of disposable vapes as litter, the risks that arise when they are not disposed of safely, and the unacceptable use of precious resources for a single use product when reusable options are available.

For the meantime, when it comes to the safe disposal of e-cigarettes or vapes, they should never be put in general waste bins.

They are accepted at the small WEEE container at recycling centres. If the batteries inside vapes are easily removable, these should be removed and disposed of in battery recycling receptacles.

Vapes are made of some of the most valuable resources on the planet—steel, aluminium, copper, lithium, which makes recycling them even more important.

Vapes are also classed as toxic waste. The batteries inside them are prone to causing fires if damaged when binned in general waste or recycling. All types of vape should be disposed of separately from household waste and recycling to avoid the risk of fire.

Binned vapes are part of the fastest growing sources of electrical waste in the UK. In the UK alone, half of single-use vapes are thrown in the bin – that’s over 1 million per week – enough to cover 22 football pitches per year.