The environment and the impact humans have on the planet is in the news daily. Whether it be bush fires in Australia, deforestation in the Amazon or flooding here in the UK. More and more people are starting to look at their own lives and how they can make environmentally beneficial changes. For the eco-friendly vaper, there are obvious concerns as vaping creates waste and is not 100% environmentally friendly.
In this post, we wanted to compare the environmental impact of smoking and vaping. We’ll also share our top tips to help you become an eco-friendly vaper.
Smoking and the Environment
The Harm Caused by Tobacco Product Waste
Worldwide it is estimated that we consume over 6 trillion cigarettes each year. Two-thirds of these, 4.5 trillion, are discarded into the environment.
During global coastal clean-ups, of the total waste collected, between 19% and 35% was tobacco product waste (TPW). On a more local level, an audit of the waste collected by the city of San Fransisco found that 24.6% of all waste collected were tobacco-related.
Tobacco product waste (TPW) contains all of the carcinogens and toxins found in the original tobacco product. The filter, found in 99% of all cigarettes, is made from nonbiodegradable plastic.
Studies have shown that the chemicals and toxins that leach from cigarette butts into our water systems and oceans are toxic to aquatic life. On land, TPW can leak chemicals for between 6-10 years into the soil. These harmful compounds may never disappear and permanently harm the soil and the life that depends on it.
A tree produces, on average, just 15 packs of cigarettes. An average smoker will be responsible for the loss of 352 trees in their lifetime.
Deforestation as a result of tobacco growing has several serious negative environmental consequences;
- The loss of trees reduces the planet's ability to deal with carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere effectively. Carbon dioxide is considered by experts to be the biggest contributor to global warming
- It reduces biodiversity
- Tobacco plant growth leads to soil degradation and erosion
- Chemicals used on tobacco crops enter the water systems causing pollution
Tobacco production is twice as high in developing countries as it is in the middle to high strength economies. Intensive lobbying by big tobacco encourages governments to turn over forests and agricultural land to tobacco growth for short term economic gain. The long term results are social, economic, health and environmental detriments for many others.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Not only do cigarettes contribute to deforestation they also directly contribute carbon dioxide and methane to the environment, two of the six key greenhouse gases. Each year cigarettes produce 2,600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and approximately 5,200,000 tonnes of methane.
Taking tobacco’s impact on deforestation and combining it with the CO2 and Methane produced. It is estimated tobacco is responsible for over 5% of the total greenhouse gas production. This figure does not take into account the energy used to produce cigarettes or the fuel used to transport them. In reality, five per cent is a big underestimation of tobacco’s total impact on the planet.
Vaping and the Environment
Let’s be clear from the start; we are not claiming that Vaping is 100% environmentally friendly. Tobacco e-liquids are popular with many vapers, and many devices are not made using parts that can all be recycled. However, for those of us wanting to become more Eco-Friendly Vapers, there are steps you can take.
Tips to Become an Eco-Friendly Vaper
Frustratingly for the industry, the TPD legislation introduced to ensure consumers receive a quality product had a negative environmental impact. Manufacturers are now only permitted to sell E-liquids containing Nicotine in 10ml bottles. The result is many more little plastic bottles are needed as consumers still want to purchase the same total volume of e-liquid.
However, e-liquid bottles can be recycled from the kerbside in most parts of the UK, just remember to remove labels and give them a good clean first.
Although not 100% recyclable many vaping devices can be broken down to remove the parts that can be. Metal castings, glass and plastic and cardboard packaging can all be recycled either at the kerbside or recycling centres.
Where are Your Vaping Products Made
If you are keen to become a more Eco-Friendly Vaper, then consider the carbon footprints of the products you buy. Where are the e-liquids you use manufactured? If it’s outside the UK, then they are being shipped from another country which is contributing to unnecessary carbon emissions. Red Vape manufacturer all of their e-liquids in the UK. When you buy a Red Vape product, you are guaranteed it’s not been shipped halfway around the world first. Plus, they taste great so it’s good for the environment and good for your taste buds.
Battery Care and Disposal
To prolong the life of the battery in your vaping device only charge it until it has a full charge. Leaving the device plugged in overnight is a waste of energy and will also shorten the life of your battery.
When it comes to disposing of your old battery, don’t throw it in general waste. Batteries can be recycled, and most councils have a battery collection scheme in place. The majority of supermarkets also have collection points which means it’s very easy to dispose of batteries correctly.
Donate Old Devices
If you’ve been vaping for a while, then it’s likely you’ve got a small stash of old devices and bits of vaping kit you never use. If you have products that are in good working order why not pass them onto other vapers. By doing this, you not only save them a few quid but also remove the need for them to buy new.
Although it’s not currently possible to become a 100% Eco-Friendly Vaper, you can take several steps to reduce your environmental impact. Recycle everything you can, look after your battery and where ever possible buy UK made products.