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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A toxic plastic problem

Steve Brownett-Gale underlines why the transition to reusable vapes is so vital for the future of the planet

In recent times, local councils across England and Wales confirmed they were backing plans to ban disposable vapes by 2024.

While these convenient, pocket-sized devices have grown popular since their market debut, they bring with them a two-pronged issue: environmental waste and attraction for the younger audience.

The environmental consequences of disposable vapes are evident. Used and discarded, many of these devices ultimately find their way into landfills, their disposal proving a dilemma for most consumers. Containing lithium-ion batteries, these single-use devices are not meant for our usual waste bins. Ideally, they should be separated and taken to specialised vape shops, dropped off at local electrical bins, or collected by councils. Unfortunately, such practices aren’t widespread, and environmental implications continue to mount.

Moreover, there’s no sidestepping the fact that disposable vapes seem deliberately designed for a younger audience. The colour of packaging has become a well-discussed topic, as research indicates that colour and imagery have a huge impact on children and their attraction to brightly coloured packaging. Their affordability, vibrant shades and broad accessibility make them as tempting as candy – a dangerous parallel given the potentially harmful effects they pose.

Plus, recent research has raised alarms about the high chemical content in some of these vapes, including lead, nickel, and chromium. Such chemicals can potentially jeopardise a young person’s brain and central nervous system development.

For the dual goal of environmental conservation and youth protection, it’s high time adult consumers shifted to reusable vaping devices. These refillable counterparts are not just pocket-friendly in the long run – they also significantly reduce packaging waste. With the ability to top up e-liquid or replace the coil as required, and often with rechargeable functionalities, these devices can serve users until the battery dies.

However, let’s not paint all disposable vapes with the same brush. The market does house unregulated, possibly dangerous products. But with tighter governmental restrictions on the horizon, we hope to see a decline in these illegal products, leaving only those from verified manufacturers. As consumers, our responsibility is twofold: supporting environmentally-friendly options and ensuring the product’s safety and standard compliance.

The packaging design of reusable vape containers further alleviates concerns regarding child safety. Compliant with ISO 8317, child-resistant features such as pipette droppers, dropper bottles, and child-proof caps protect children from accidental ingestion and give parents and caregivers peace of mind.

Steve Brownett-Gale is the Marketing Lead at Lifestyle Packaging

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