Tobacco companies are failing to support independent retailers in providing a take-back service for used vaping products.
Changes to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling laws mean retailers selling electrical items must offer a recycling service. It was confirmed earlier this year that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be carrying out enforcement activity on retailers who are not compliant from the end of March.
Better Retailing approached Philip Morris Limited (PML), British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, asking how they were helping retailers. All of which did not specifically answer.
Imperial’s head of corporate and legal affairs UK, Lindsay Mennell Keating, said the company communicates “responsible disposal guidance to both consumers and retailers”, and confirmed it offers a scheme for its consumers to safely dispose of its Blu devices.
A PML spokesperson explained it also operates a recycling programme for its Veeba disposable e-vapour device, but for adult consumers only rather than retailers. “We are also working with selective retail partners to test the viability of other programmes that enable adult consumers to responsibly return their Veeba devices with ease and convenience,” they said.
A JTI representative added the firm does not manufacture or sell single-use disposable vapes, but “under WEEE regulations, JTI contributes to waste-management levies which local authorities use to manage the collection and disposal of electronics and batteries”.