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Single-use vapes ban consultation closes

A ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland is due to come into effect on 1 April 2025.

Today we submitted a response to the consultation on the draft legislation being taken forward in Scotland using powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

We and our partners have been calling for these products to be banned for two years now, due to their environmental impact and the harm they cause to people’s health.

Our recent reports How Clean are our Streets? and the Scottish Litter Survey highlight litter on our streets and public perception of litter in Scotland. With 90% of people surveyed agreeing that litter is a problem across Scotland, and over 40% of people see single-use vapes very often or often we know the issue needs to be dealt with - and a ban is one way of doing this.

The littering of single-use vapes has become much more common with 30% of those surveyed agreeing - increasing in urban areas and Scotland’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Our own ground litter data surveys show a significant rise of single-use vapes as litter with 6% of sites being affected – making it the fastest growing litter type recorded.  

We are delighted to see that the Scottish Government want to take action and ban the use of single-use vapes. However, we believe that the regulations need to be tightened to ensure that it is not possible for the industry to take advantage of potential loopholes, specifically around the definition of ‘single-use’.  

Additionally, we share the concerns of ASH Scotland and Trading Standards Scotland in regard to the enforceability of these proposed regulations. 

We believe that there are opportunities for the Scottish Government to ensure Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations covers cigarettes (with our data showing that these are consistently the most littered item) and single-use vapes.

This would encourage producers to assess the whole lifecycle of their product and its packaging, driving packaging to be reusable, repairable, and durable as well as ensuring that the product can be recycled back into high quality materials.

Catherine Gee, our Deputy CEO, said: "Single-use vapes have become the fastest growing littered item with our data showing 44% of people reporting seeing single-use vapes very or somewhat often in their local area and 50% saying that seeing these has become more common in the past 12 months - increasing in urban and deprived communities.

“Over the past two years we have joined many organisations to call loudly for UK Government to take action and back a ban for our climate, nature and people.

“We look forward to the ban coming into force using Scotland’s devolved environmental powers, but need to ensure that the regulations don't create loopholes that are unenforceable. Until a ban comes into force we urge everyone who uses them to dispose of them appropriately as electronic waste – not to bin them or litter them.”

If you want to help us tackle single-use vapes as litter get involved in Spring Clean and record how many you find when doing a litter pick.  Your data can help us build evidence to put before decision makers.

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08 March 2024

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