• April 8, 2020

E-issues need addressing

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.

Scene’s like this are rare in Thailand. This vaper in Koh Samui, Thailand could face fines or even jail.

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.