Collection/recycling of disposable vapes/e-cigarettes

The Directorate of Estates and Facilities has set up 2 collection points for the recycling of disposable vapes/e-cigarettes – the containers (see photo to right of page) are located on the reception desks at University Place and the Main Library.

The container will be emptied on a regular basis with the vapes being sent for recycling via the University’s waste contractors, Veolia. The items will be dismantled and various components either recycled, disposed of, or treated as hazardous waste.

Wherever possible we would encourage users to return any used disposable vapes to the outlet they purchased them from as there is a significant cost to the University in collecting/disposing of these items. Many retailers and shops now have free drop-off points as part of the UK’s WEEE Distributor takeback scheme. Certain stores must take back waste of the same item type regardless of whether it has been purchased online or in the same store.

Never dispose of vapes/e-cigarettes in your general waste or place them in litter/street bins as these items contain lithium batteries. Lithium batteries can overheat rapidly and create intense heat when damaged. Collection of general waste often involves crushing/compacting the waste in collection vehicles and this increases the risk of damage for lithium batteries and also the risk of fires. Also, the end destinations for general waste often involve treatment/crushing of items and this means that lithium batteries are a major cause of fires at waste treatment facilities

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is working with Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) to raise awareness about the fire risks associated with disposing of batteries in household bins – see Be Battery Aware - Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service. They have also produced some advice on the safe use of vapes/e-cigarettes here. The Environmental Services Association has also produced a short information film on the disposal of batteries here.

The following article/video also highlights the issues associated with incorrect disposal of batteries - Why you should never bin batteries - YouTube

The university has produced guidance on the disposal of lithium batteries -Guidance for the disposal of Lithium Batteries (The University of Manchester)