Unlimited fines for stores with no vape ‘take-back’ scheme

Retailers can now be fined an unlimited amount for not having a disposable vape ‘take-back’ scheme, Better Retailing can reveal. 

Shop owners who sell single-use vapes are required by law to provide a process to take back the waste vapes.

A small retailer, who logs sales of less than £100,000 a year, can qualify for the Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS), with charges for this service dependent on the store size and sales. 

Fines for a breaching these conditions have been increased from £5,000 to unlimited, under the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations. 

Any offences referring to Level 5 automatically recieve an a unlimited fine, which includes WEEE and Battery Takeback regulations.

Alex Brothwood, scheme operations manager at Waste Experts, said that the updated fine comes amid concerns that “no one is actually getting prosecuted” for not having a takeback system. 

Retailers that log sales of less than £100,000 per year of electricals including vapes must sign up to a Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS), with charges for this service dependent on the store size and sales. Shop owners who sell more than £100,000 per year must offer an in-store option for customers to dispose of vapes. 

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Waste Experts offers vape bins for £165 each. The company launched the containers in March and has sold 1,000, “which is not a huge amount”, said Brothwood. Retailers are charged £165 per bin collection. 

“It was hard to get off the ground [with convenience stores] because, under the DTS, retailers have to pay for the logistics of the collection and [vapes] are expensive to recycle. There’s a lot going on in the background with legislation to make it cheaper, but it’s currently costly.” 

Suppliers such as Elux and Elfbar have also launched and financed free recycling bins and collections for stores. 

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