Independent retailers are experiencing cases of youths stealing single-use disposable vapes from recycling bins in their stores.
Anita Nye, owner of Premier Eldred Drive in Orpington, Kent witnessed fell victim to an incident last week, after witnessing it on CCTV.
“It’s stupidity, they must know they’re empty because it’s a recycling bin,” she said. “We don’t even know what their thought process would be. You’re taking something that’s clearly empty, and there’s the health implications – that’s been in someone else’s mouth.
“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “It’s like picking up a dogend from an ashtray or from the floor. It’s absolutely unbelievable, they weren’t in uniform, but they were definitely underage.”
As a result, Nye moved the bin to beside the counter to prevent it from happening again. She stated that it would be “brazen” of them to attempt it again.
From the end of March, store owners were forced to introduce recycling bins for vapes to adhere to changes to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling laws, which means all retailers selling electrical items must offer a recycling service.
The government is currently looking into how to restrict accessibility of single-use vapes to children, including an overall ban of disposable vapes.