BMRA calls for festivals to ban vapes ahead of Glastonbury

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has called on other music festivals to ban disposable vapes and follow Glastonbury Festival’s lead ahead of the festival’s start this week.

Disposable vapesThe Somerset-based festival has asked attendees not to bring disposable vapes onto the site as they ‘pollute the environment and can be hazardous at waste centres’.

The BMRA, which represents the UK’s metal recycling sector, says that more fires are occurring due to items containing lithium-ion batteries, like vapes, not being disposed of correctly. 

The BMRA’s James Kelly commented: “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.

“We have seen the devastation of fires at member sites caused by lithium-ion batteries being placed in the incorrect waste stream and we would hate to see this occur at a summer festival.

“Lithium-ion batteries in vapes are so small. There is a possibility if the weather takes a turn for the worse that 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.

Recycling potential of vapes

The BMRA says that the fact that lithium-ion batteries can be recycled is ‘often forgotten’.

Kelly added: “Critical raw materials can be drawn from the batteries to be used again, including: lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel. This not only saves natural habitat from being mined, but also the huge amounts of energy needed to process new metal mined from ore.

“With more and more UK-based lithium-ion recycling facilities opening, and the increased opportunities to recycle the batteries, we think there are plenty of options for festivals to provide such recycling amenities.”

Eunomia Research & Consulting estimates that lithium-ion batteries are responsible for around 48 per cent of all waste fires occurring in the UK each year, costing the UK economy some £158 million annually.

Glastonbury has published a full packing list, including what not to bring, on its website. 

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