The British Metals Recycling Association is calling on the organisers of summer festivals to follow the lead of the world-famous Glastonbury event and ban disposable electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes or vapes contain lithium batteries which can easily cause a fire when not being disposed of correctly, the BMRA warns.
The organisers of Glastonbury have asked those coming to the event over the next few days to leave disposable vapes at home. ‘We welcome the move by Glastonbury Festival and would like to see other festivals follow suit to increase site safety this summer,’ says BMRA’s James Kelly. ‘At the very least, we would like to see suitable disposal bins for vapes allowing festival-goers to safely dispose of and increase the recyclability of them.’
Many recyclers have seen the devastation of fires sites caused by lithium-ion batteries placed in the incorrect waste stream. ‘We would hate to see this at a summer festival,’ says Kelly.
‘Lithium-ion batteries in vapes are so small,’ he continues. ‘If the weather takes a turn for the worse, the vape could end up in the mud, the battery could become separated from its casing and fall under the surface. If the land is used for grazing, this could potentially be swallowed by an animal. Let’s hope people are responsible.’
Another reason for not disposing of them, but often forgotten says Kelly, is that lithium-ion batteries can be recycled. ‘With more and more UK-based lithium-ion recycling facilities opening, and increased opportunities to recycle the batteries, we think there are plenty of options for festivals to provide such recycling amenities.’
According to Eunomia Research & Consulting, lithium-ion batteries are responsible for around 48% of all waste fires occurring in the UK each year, costing the UK economy some £158 million (EUR 185 million).