While vaping is a discreet and efficient way to consume cannabis, it also poses a threat to the environment and challenges the industry to think more sustainably.
As a consumer, it’s important to support brands and businesses that are dedicated to producing quality products and to respecting a high environmental standard. Although, these two business values usually go hand-in-hand.
But also as a member of the cannabis community, it’s important for you to take the initiative to be a more environmentally-friendly consumer.
As the cannabis and vaping industry continues to grow, there are ways you can hold brands accountable and also personally ensure that the industry’s environmental footprint isn’t littered with post-consumer waste.
How to make vaping more environmentally friendly
1. Avoid disposable vapes if possible
The average $20 disposable vape pen lasts about three days, which means if a consumer continuously purchases the same disposable vape pen, then they will spend well over $2000 a year on vaping. But the cost of a disposable vape pen weighs even heavier when the amount of single-use waste from millions of vapes across the world is added to the equation. This cannabis news source even referred to disposable vape pens as “the weed version of a [plastic] straw.”
If possible, invest in quality over quantity with a reusable vape pen. In general, reusable vape pens are not only higher-quality products, but also better for the future of the earth and your wallet.
When you pay more upfront for a vape pen from brands like Vessel, you’re paying for the reusable 510 battery and 510 thread compatibility that lasts significantly longer than a disposable product, the smart technology features that improve your cannabis experience and the added benefit of improved sustainability through longer-lasting batteries. Longer-lasting batteries mean less waste and less effort for you to properly recycle.
2. If you’re a smoker, vape instead of smoking cigarettes
Did you know cigarettes are the most littered item in the United States?
And it’s a misconception that cigarettes simply biodegrade. Before the environment consumes a cigarette butt, the harmful chemicals are leached into the surrounding area, which leads to land, water and air pollution. Plus, during the process of degrading, cigarette remnants are often broken down into microplastics that also contribute to the plastic pollution that is overwhelming ecosystems, waterways and underdeveloped areas of the world.
So instead of smoking, try transitioning into vaping instead of smoking. If you research and purchase a high-quality recyclable vape, then it’s not only better for the environment, but also less harmful to the health of those around you since vapor does not produce secondhand smoke or harmful carcinogens.
3. Dispose of vape liquid responsibly
Vape liquid can be toxic when consumed beyond its intended-usage. For instance, if you just simply throw e-liquid into your trash can outside then you’re attracting pets and various wildlife creatures to consume the substance that may smell enticing to the vulnerable wildlife, but actually poisons them.
This means of disposal has dire consequences for the little ones around you, your pets and the natural ecosystem surrounding your home, community trash collection or sprawling landfill.
So what do you do when you have vape liquid that you don’t want? First, try to donate to a friend!
If that’s not an option, then consider mixing the vape liquid with an absorbent material like natural kitty litter, wood chippings or sawdust to soak up the vape juice. From there, just ensure the mixture is enclosed in a biodegradable bag and dispose of it in a secure trash can.
4. Recycle empty e-liquid bottles and packaging
As a conscious consumer, it’s also important to take the initiative to recycle your empty e-liquid bottles, packaging and vape carts, if possible.
E-liquid bottles and packaging will follow your local community’s recycling laws and recommendations.
Recycling your actual vape device can be a process, but an important process to make vaping more supportive of the natural environment.
While some disposable vapes can be recycled to any normal battery recycling center, others may need to be broken down into individual parts and dispersed to various recycling centers.
You will need to separate out the battery, plastic and electronic components. The battery and electronic components can be taken to any battery recycling center, while the plastic pieces can be recycled from home as normal.
When purchasing a new vape pen, keep this process in mind and support brands that package minimally and offer recycling incentives for their products.
This is also another reason why rechargeable vape pens, like Vessel, are worth it - less hassle and less trips to the recycling center.
5. Buy locally
This study found that when you buy local, it strengthens and supports community ties, economy and environment.
When you purchase from local dispensaries and other retailers, you help to significantly reduce the environmental impact of consumerism.
How? On a smaller scale, local businesses tend to make more local purchases, which means less transportation, traffic and emissions. On a larger scale, local business owners tend to position themselves in popular and busy city or town centers, which also means less industrial space, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
Plus, buying locally also means more jobs, better service, efficient public services, unique character and improved prosperity.
While vaping is more sustainable and eco-friendly than other practices within the cannabis industry, it still has a long way to go in ensuring less waste, neutral emissions and the health of the planet. As climate change continues to threaten the environment, it’s important to acknowledge the role and responsibility of producers and consumers, and ask ourselves: how can we be more sustainable and conscious?