Vapes can now be recycled at points across County Durham, thanks to a new scheme.
Recycling containers are in place at 12 of the county’s household waste recycling centres, with smaller containers available in 15 community venues.
Durham County Council has introduced the scheme in response to requests from local residents.
Cllr Mark Wilkes, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “It isn’t safe to dispose of used vapes at home and we ask people not to put them in their bins because their lithium batteries are highly flammable, explosive and polluting.
“As we’ve seen across the country, they are becoming a growing litter problem too. They leak battery acid and leftover nicotine, which is highly poisonous to most animals, into the environment.
“It is very clear that an alternative to disposable vapes is needed sooner rather than later but people have been asking us if we can provide a way for them to dispose of vapes safely and responsibly. We’ve listened, and we’ve launched this recycling scheme.
“You can now recycle vapes at 12 of our household waste recycling centres, as well as selected community points. Some retailers also offer a return scheme so that’s something worth looking into too.
“The lithium contained in vapes is actually a scarce material and last year in the UK, the lithium in the vapes that were thrown away could have been used to make batteries for 1,200 electric cars.
“The vapes we collect are sent to a local vape treatment and recovery facility, where they are dismantled and the plastic and metals are processed for recycling. The batteries are recycled and the wick, filter and nicotine are sent for incineration.”
Where are the recycling points?
Vapes can be recycled at the Heighington Waste and Recycling Centre on Aycliffe Business Park.
They can also be recycled at the following community venues:
• Newton Aycliffe Library, Leisure Centre, Beveridge Arcade, DL5 4EH
• Barnard Castle Library, Witham Building, 2 Hall St, DL12 8JB
• Woodhouse Close Leisure Centre, Woodhouse Lane, Bishop Auckland, DL14 6JX
• Blackhall Community Centre, Hesleden Road, TS27 4LG
• Chester-le-Street Library, Station Rd, DH3 3BP
• Glenroyd House, Medomsley Road, Consett, DH8 5HL
• Crook Library, Civic Centre, North Terrace, DL15 9ES
• Clayport Library, 8 Millennium Place, Durham City, DH1 1WA
• Great Lumley Community Centre, Front Street, DH3 4JD
• Meadowfield Leisure Centre, John Street North, DH7 8RG
• Peterlee Library, Leisure Centre, Saint Cuthbert’s Way, SR8 1AF
• Seaham Leisure Centre, The Recreation Ground, Deneside, SR7 8NP
• Shildon Town Council Offices, Civic Hall Square, Shildon DL4 1AH
• Spennymoor Youth and Community Centre, Rushmoor, Merrington View, DL16 6PP
• Stanley Library, The Louisa Centre, Front Street, DH9 0TE