How to recycle Vape Coils & Batteries
7 January 2020
Vape products and items and how to recycle them
There’s still vast scope for improvement from all concerned but we've tried to put together a brief and easy-to-understand guide on to how to reduce the burden on landfill and increase recycling of some vape products.
Please make the effort to recycle if you can, we do appreciate it requires more patience and time than chucking out a wine bottle. I think one of the main things to remember with any kind of recycling is, where possible, to separate different materials. For example, the metal in a vape coil can't be recycled until it's been washed and the non-recyclable cotton or mesh inside the coil has been removed. Yes, it's a time-consuming and potentially fiddly job that a lot of us don't feel we have time for, but every little helps.
Furthermore, different areas have different recycling capabilities, so you may need to check with your local authority or recycling centre for some items as to what you can take there, ie mods and lithium batteries.
Coils are the small items that are used inside the tank or pod and generally consist of a metal outer casing with metal holes and wire inside along with a wicking material to soak up e-liquid. Although most coils are removable, there are some that are fixed inside the tank or pod, and the tank/pod with the coil inside can't be easily taken apart. If this is the case, please check for any recycling instructions on the packaging or the item itself.
What are coils made from: metals, cotton, ceramic, mesh or similar for wicking inside
How to recycle coils
If you've been able to remove the coil from the tank, you're mainly dealing with a metal part, however, the non-recyclable cotton or wicking has to be removed before you can add this item to your household recycling bin. Remove any e-liquid and nicotine residue before disposing.
Pulling apart the coil and removing the cotton or wicking inside can be very easy, but for some coils it's very difficult or may not be possible.
The tank is the part that holds the e-liquid, and they come in many guises. Recycling is straightforward for a traditional metal tank because you can separate it from the battery and strip it of any non-recyclable parts such as silicone and rubber rings. There are other types that are all glued together and may be made from non-recyclable plastics, or they may be attached to something else, such as an all-in-one device, in which case this may be treated as a mod battery.
What are e-cig tanks made from: metal, plastics, toughened glass, silicone, rubber
How to recycle metal tanks
Metal can go in your household recycling bin, if the glass is toughened, and most will be, is requires greater heat to recycle it and not all local authorities will want it. Exclude all non-recyclable parts such as rubber and silicone from your recycling bin. Remove any e-liquid and nicotine residue before disposing.
Whether you have a battery or a mod, they’re essentially both batteries.
What are e-cig batteries and mods made from: the outer casing to batteries and mods will be metal or plastic or a combination of both. Inside the battery there's lithium, graphite, carbon, cobalt and potentially other metals and elements.
There are controversial mining activities involved in the supply of materials for lithium batteries. Depressingly, global deep sea beds and troughs are next in line for disastrous mining on a massive scale as they are a lucrative source of resources.
How to recycle e-cig batteries and mods
Lithium batteries can only be disposed of at specialist battery disposal point at a local recycling centre. Please check locally.
Mods are still batteries but because of their circuit boards they should be recycled at an e-waste site. Please check with your local waste management centre/environmental waste depot, or ask your Local Authority for guidance.
Before disposing, ensure your battery or mod is clear of any wet e-liquid residue and it's turned off. If your mod has removable batteries, take them out and dispose of them as above.
It is a hassle to make a special journey, and it's a hassle to store unwanted things, but please make the effort if you can. If you're storing batteries at home for a time please do so safely. You can read about safe storage on our website here.
Specific types of plastic are used for the bottles that contain e-liquid. There are some glass bottles too.
What are e-liquid bottles made from: The plastic used for e-liquid bottles will usually be LDPE, HDPE, or PET.
How to recycle e-liquid bottles
The plastics mentioned above are recyclable, particularly PET which is widely recycled, but you may need to check with your local authority to be sure they're recycling the others.
Recycling of our packaging
Along with many other traders, we have been putting pressure on our mailing supplies companies to offer recyclable and/or biodegradable mailing options.
Things are happening slowly, but to give you some idea of the issues involved in this transition, currently the biodegradable plastic bags leach chemicals (into the ground), and the recyclable plastic bags are not yet recycled in the UK, so one could argue at this point, what is the point.
We continue in our quest for better environmental solutions and will update this page accordingly.
In the meantime, please remember the 3 R's, because every little helps: