Quit the habit, save a habitat: The environmental cost of vaping

April 22, 2024

Each Earth Day, we are reminded that what happens to the environment affects us all. As we each try to reduce our personal environmental impact, something you may not have considered is vaping. Vaping has consequences for your health and for the environment. Saying goodbye to vaping is an eco-friendly choice that can lead to a healthier planet and a healthier you.

The environmental cost of vaping

A mound of garbage at a landfill site.

Waste from single-use or disposable vapes

Disposable vapes are popular for their convenience and variety of flavours, but it comes at a cost to the environment. Many devices are designed for a single use and are not recyclable, leading to significant waste. Each disposed vape adds to the landfill, where it sits for years, potentially leaking harmful chemicals like nicotine, heavy metals, battery acid and even lead into the ground and waterways.

Battery and plastic pollution

Vaping devices that are rechargeable contain lithium-ion batteries, plastic and electronic components that are difficult to recycle. When not disposed of properly, these materials are hazardous. Lithium-ion batteries pose a risk of fire in waste facilities and contribute to toxic waste. Vaping devices made of plastics do not biodegrade. These plastics build up in our land and waterways and take hundreds of years to break down. It’s estimated that Canadians throw away over 3 million tons of plastic waste every year; of that only 9% is recycled. The remaining 91% end up in our landfills, available facilities that turn compostable waste into fuel, or worse in the environment.

Production and the carbon footprint

Disposable vapes use valuable resources. The production of vapes involves the mining of lithium and other metals, manufacturing plastics and assembling electronic components, all of which have significant carbon footprints. The international shipping and distribution of these devices contribute to their overall environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions and resource depletion.

A small step with a big impact: The power of quitting

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Reducing waste

Making the decision to quit vaping is more than just a personal health choice; it’s an environmental stance. By quitting vaping, you are reducing the vast amounts of waste generated by disposable vapes and the various complex components of rechargeable ones.

Decrease pollution

By not vaping, you also help in cutting down the pollution associated with manufacturing, transporting and disposing of vaping devices which reduces your carbon footprint.

Support sustainable practices

Use your knowledge of the environmental impacts of vaping to influence more sustainable practices, including better recycling technologies and less harmful product designs.

Promote better health

Quitting vaping improves not only your lung health but also your overall well-being and helps you build new healthy habits that support your physical and mental health.

Taking action

An overhead shot of runners competing in a race.

If you are ready to take a step towards a healthier planet, consider the following actions:

  • If you or someone you know wants to quit, check out the “quit vaping” resources on our website.
  • Educate yourself and others about the environmental and health impacts of vaping. By sharing information about the impact of vape waste and ways to reduce or eliminate it, you can influence others to make more sustainable choices .
  • Join or organize local clean-up events to help remove vape products and other litter from the environment. Not only does it help clean our public spaces but also raises awareness about the waste associated with vaping.
  • Advocate for policies that regulate the disposal of e-cigarette waste and promote recycling efforts.

Quitting vaping is more than a personal health choice-it’s a commitment to environmental sustainability. A vaping device used for two or three days should not affect our planet for hundreds of years. By making the decision to quit, you’re not only protecting your health but also contributing to the health of our planet.