Electronic cigarettes are starting to attract the attention of people concerned about littering, according to a story by Mari A. Schaefer at www2.philly.com (Philadelphia).
While single-use plastic straws, bags, and coffee pods had already captured the attention of the public and legislatures looking to ban products that wind up littering the landscape, Schaefer said, e-cigarettes had begun to show up on streets and shores, catching officials off-guard and presenting the challenge of how to deal with litter that was part recyclable and part hazardous.
“We started seeing them a number of years ago,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a non-profit organization that compiles biannual beach clean-up reports from the New Jersey Shore. “Most of us didn’t even know what they were,” she said.
Schaefer said that each e-cigarette had five components – residual nicotine, plastic, lithium batteries, aluminium, and fabric – each of which had to be disassembled and recycled separately. The products came in various shapes and sizes, from large, refillable tank devices to rechargeable devices that incorporated single-use plastic pods that looked like USB flash drives.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s environmental planning director, Scott McGrath, said the city currently was investigating how to recycle e-cigarette waste.
The city had contacted its third-party electronic- and hazardous-waste vendors for guidance because the e-cigarettes fell into both categories. Of particular concern, he said, were the lithium batteries used in some products, which were water-reactive and which could start fires if not disposed of properly.