Oxfordshire launches first public vape recycling project

The new vape recycling points in public spaces are designed to offer easy access for recycling vape

Oxfordshire launches first public vape recycling project

Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council and Oxford City Council has announced plans to provide new vape recycling services across the county.

The councils said they wanted to prevent the disposal of single-use vapes in litter bins, general waste or mixed recycling where they can contaminate other recycling and, in some instances, cause fires in bin trucks or waste facilities.

As such, the new vape recycling points in public spaces are designed to offer easy access for recycling vapes. This is one of more than 40 UK projects funded by Material Focus, the not-for-profit leading the ‘Recycle your electricals’ campaign, who have provided over £40,000 for Oxfordshire to be one of the first county councils to lead the way by recycling vapes.

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As part of initial campaign, the company have added 60 new recycling collection points for vapes at small retailers, shopping areas, bars and cafes across Oxford, Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington. The plastic collection tubes are three feet high and have a bright pink ‘recycle your vapes’ poster on them.

This will be joined by new public recycling pink bins at each of the seven household waste recycling centres (HWRC) in Oxfordshire, alongside a separate kerbside collection for vapes in Cherwell. The new HWRC bright pink vape bins will be installed today (29 November).

In all other areas of Oxfordshire, vapes can be recycled at the kerbside with other small electrical items. How they are collected in each district council area varies, and residents can check the Waste Wizard or their district council’s website to check the local area’s collection service. 

Residents will also be made aware of how and where they can recycle their vapes through information on leaflets, and on posters.

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for climate change and environment, said: “Partly because of their environmental impact, we would support a ban on the sale of disposable vapes and encourage reusable vapes where possible. However, while vapes are still being used and thrown away, this project will expand the range of services for residents to safely recycle them.”

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Councillor Andrew McHugh, portfolio holder for cleaner and greener communities at Cherwell District Council, added: “Cherwell District Council is always looking at developing ways to make it easier for residents to dispose of their waste appropriately and recycle more.

“We are pleased to offer residents the option to recycle disposable vapes in addition to other small electrical items at the kerbside. All residents need to do is place the vapes in a clear plastic bag on top of their blue or green bin on collection day, it’s important not to dispose of these items in the green or blue bins as the batteries can, and have, caused serious fires.”

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for citizen focused services and council companies, said: “One small act, like putting disposable vapes in general waste or recycling, can cause immense disruption, considerable damage to our collection vehicles, and create danger to the public and our operators.

“Only last summer we had a fire in one of our waste disposal vehicles that was probably caused by a discarded vape. It led to significant damage to the vehicle and inconvenience to the public. It’s important to dispose of vapes appropriately so that they can be properly treated and not cause a hazard.”

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