New Report: Disposable vapes pose environmental threat

Unauthorized sales of disposable vapes in California are compounding their growing environmental threat

CALPIRG Education Fund | TPIN
Lucas Rockett Gutterman, campaign director for CALPIRG Education Fund’s Designed to Last Campaign, showcases a disassembled vape.

A new report, “Vape Waste: The environmental harms of disposable vapes,” released by CALPIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund finds that this hazardous electronic waste poses a growing environmental threat. According to CDC Foundation sales estimates, lining-up the disposable vapes sold in a year would span the continental U.S. twice. Because there is no standard legal way to recycle these products, many users just toss them. 

“Disposable vapes have become the new poster child for our single-use, throwaway society. Tossing out lithium-ion batteries that we could recharge hundreds of times after one use doesn’t make any sense,” said Lucas Rockett Gutterman, the report author and director of CALPIRG Education Fund’s Designed to Last campaign. “Some things are too harmful and useless to tolerate. We should ban disposable vapes.”

In June, the FDA issued warning letters to 189 retailers for selling these vapes. Advocates with CALPIRG Education Fund are calling on all retailers who received letters, including convenience stores with the prominent 7-Eleven, Shell, BP and Chevron brand names to comply and stop selling any disposable vapes. The report also urges the FDA to deny all pending and future requests to sell disposable vapes.

Sander Kushen

Public Health Advocate, CALPIRG Education Fund


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