Cigarette Waste vs E-Cigarette Waste
The health debate between smoking and vaping has long been raging, but there’s another debate simmering beneath the surface: the great debate between cigarette waste and e-cigarette waste. The ever-popular, plastic disposable lighter cost tons more than recharging your vape battery. Lighters also have an awful impact on the environment. But don’t take it from us. Ask the albatross. Read on to see what we mean.
The Money: Plastic Lighters vs. Vape Pen Batteries
Smokers saunter into a store to buy a lighter, picking up a disposable plastic gizmo that costs anywhere from 50 cents on up. No big deal, right? But the cheaper the lighter, the quicker it’s going to run out. You’d probably have to spend at least $2 to $3 to get the brand-name lighters that boast up to 3,000 lit-up flicks.
So let’s say you spend $3 for a lighter that gives you 3,000 lights before it runs out of fuel. If you’re smoking one pack of 20 cigarettes per day, the lighter will last you 150 days (provided no lights are wasted from being quashed by wind or rain). That means you’ll have to buy 2.43 lighters per year to light all 7,300 cigarettes, which comes to about $7.29 in lighter costs.
Still no big deal, right? Perhaps not, but it’s also nearly 30 times more expensive than recharging your vape pen, a cost that’ll run you less than 25 cents for the entire year.
True, you do have to initially invest in a vape battery and charger, costs that can start around $10 and $5, respectively. But batteries have been known to last for up to 400 charges, which takes you beyond a single year of charging once per day. The chargers can last even longer, as long as you don’t drop, smash or submerge them in water.
You can also purchase your battery and charger and be set for an extended period, without having to waste gas driving to the store to buy a new plastic disposable lighter that once again ran out at the worst possible moment.
The Environment: Plastic Lighters vs. Vape Pen Batteries
And even if you say the $7.29 per year you spend on disposable lighters is still no big deal as far as out-of-pocket expenses go, plastic lighters are a huge deal when it comes to decimating the environment. Here’s where that aforementioned albatross comes in.
Albatross that make their home on and around Midway Islands are suffering mightily, thanks in part to the massive amounts of plastic lighters floating around the Pacific Ocean. Proclaimed as Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in 1996, Midway Islands feature an atoll that covers a 15-mile stretch that encompasses two main islands located about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu.
The Refuge is an albatross haven, with 320,000 albatross chicks hatching there every year. And about 90 percent of those chicks, or
That’s because albatross parent flies up to 1,000 miles over the ocean searching for floating egg masses, squid and other marine life near the water’s surface. Plastic lighters are bobbing around right there with their food sources, making up a notable portion of the
Adult albatross bring the food back to the chicks, inadvertently feeding them lighters and other plastic junk that can end up killing them. Chicks that die from plastic ingestion typically have double the amount of plastic in their stomachs than surviving chicks. Ingested plastic lighters and other junk increases the risk of dehydration, fatal puncture wounds in the digestive tracts, and buildup of toxins the plastics pick up when swirling around the ocean.
Volunteers on the Refuge’s Sand Island collected 1,310 plastic lighters from around the island over a 75-day period. Do the math and it averages out to at least 17 lighters per day, or the potential to expose baby albatross to 6,205 lighters per year – and those are just the lighters that were not eaten and trapped in the chicks’ stomachs.
Rechargeable vape batteries are not typically found floating around the earth’s oceans or killing off albatross. In fact, most
The Call2Recycle program offers free drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries and other recyclable items. Drop-offs for all types of batteries hit 7.3 million pounds for the first six months of 2016 alone, up 20 percent from the same time period last year.
And What about the Butts?
Since we’re on the topic of titanic waste, we can’t help but bring up the cigarette butts that litter our streets, sidewalks, waterways and are considered the most prevalent form of litter on earth. They, too, like to make their way into our oceans, with the Ocean Conservancy noting cigarette butt litter generally accounts for one in every five items collected during environmental cleanups.
Take the butts to a worldwide level, and you’ll find an annual 4.5 trillion cigarette butts littering the streets, sidewalks, waterways, bushes, parks and nearby planters.
Take the butts down to an individual level, and
Now compare that to the cartomizer or two the vaper may throw out, most likely using a trash can.
So the next time you’re ready to flick your disposable, plastic lighter, or flick your cigarette butt into the street, you may want to stop a moment and at least lament about the tremendous waste you’re helping to create. While you’re at it, you may also want to switch to vaping with rechargeable batteries that can end up recycled to help save the wildlife on our shores.
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