Littered single-use vapes can cause fires, council warns

‘Single-use vapes pose a threat to the environment’: Will single-use vapes be banned? <i>(Image: Getty)</i>
‘Single-use vapes pose a threat to the environment’: Will single-use vapes be banned? (Image: Getty)

Southampton City Council has said single-use vapes ‘pose a threat to the environment’ with ministers poised to ban them.

The council told the Echo it is working "closely" with its partners to ensure residents are "aware of the dangers that irresponsibly disposed single-use vapes pose".

It comes after a series of calls from councils, paediatricians, and public waste campaigners to make selling the disposable devices illegal on health and environmental grounds.

A spokesperson for Southampton City Council told the Echo: “Research shows that the number of single-use vapes being thrown away in the UK has doubled since last year.

“If littered, single-use vapes can pose a threat to the environment and wildlife. The damaging chemicals inside single-use vapes can leak into water as well as cause fires.

“Vapes can be toxic to animals and are an eyesore to our natural habitats. One chemical contained within the vape battery is lithium.

READ MORE: Southampton shop forced to close after vapes stolen in break-in

“Lithium is not only flammable and toxic, but it also takes a lot of energy, water, and other resources to mine and process.”

Calls for the ban follow research by independent not-for-profit organisation Material Focus, which showed five million single-use vapes are discarded in the UK every week.

The council spokesperson added: “Disposing of single-use vapes in any household bin (general waste or recycling) can put our frontline crews at risk. These vapes can cause fires and serious damage to our lorries and facilities.

“Single-use vapes cannot be recycled. All HWRCs in Hampshire now have dedicated disposable vape collection points.

“Disposable vapes can also be returned to the retailer from which they were purchased.

“Please dispose of vapes responsibly, help us to keep our crews out of harm’s way, and keep your waste collections running smoothly.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: “We are concerned about the rise in youth vaping and the environmental impact of disposable vapes.

“That is why we launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vaping products – and explore where the government can go further.

“We will set out our response in due course.”