Government considers ‘deposit and return’ scheme for disposable vapes

Public consultation launched on whether single-use e-cigarettes should be banned

The Government is calling for submissions from the public on whether it should ban the sale of disposable vapes or introduce some form of “deposit and return” scheme for the devices.

Disposable e-cigarettes or vapes have become increasingly popular in recent years and as a result a common sight among street litter. The Department of the Environment is examining potentially banning the sale and distribution of the cheap vapes, and has sought feedback from the public and stakeholders.

The department said another option would be to set up a “deposit and return” scheme for the disposable vapes, similar to a scheme recently set up to encourage the recycling of plastic bottles and aluminium cans. The existing scheme sees consumers charged 25 cent per can or bottle that they can redeem by recycling the cans and bottles at machines in supermarkets and shops.

The department said as vaping products contain electronic components, such as batteries, they require safe disposal and pose a risk to waste collection workers if thrown out with normal rubbish. “As with other modern electronics they also contain rare and expensive materials, which can be reused as part of the circular economy.”


A third policy option suggested was a push to improve the public’s awareness about the need to dispose the devices in appropriate battery collection schemes, the department said.

Announcing the public consultation on Thursday, Minister of State with responsibility for the circular economy Ossian Smyth said: “We want to inform and strengthen the Government’s response to disposable vaping products.”

The public consultation is set to run for eight weeks until the end of July and details about how to make a submission can be found here.

Earlier this week the Cabinet approved plans to bring forward legislation to ban the sale of vaping products to people under the age of 18. The new law will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18 and is expected to be enacted before the Dáil’s summer recess in mid-July.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times