E-Liquid Waste

Although it may seem that e-cigarettes and other products using e-liquid developed only in the last few years, some form of electronic cigarette has existed since the late 1960s, and designs for ones were available decades before that. However, e-cigarette devices have only attained commercial success in the last two decades.

A recent study estimates that as many as 10.8 million Americans use e-cigarettes and the majority of those users are under the age of 35. E-cigarette use is frequently associated with traditional smokers who are attempting to curb the behavior or switch to something that is perceived to be less harmful.

E-Liquid Waste

E-Liquid Waste and Related Wastes

E-cigarettes are composed of the e-liquid, or “vape juice,” a cartridge, and a lithium ion battery. Both the cartridge and the e-liquid itself require hazardous waste disposal because they have come into contact with nicotine. When discarded inappropriately, the residual nicotine may leach into soil and cause harm to wildlife.

What makes disposal of e-cigarette waste even more complicated is that any material that has come into contact with nicotine must be washed three times before disposal, and that cleansing liquid also becomes hazardous waste.

EPA Designation of Nicotine Waste

According to the EPA, unused nicotine is characterized as a P-listed waste, which means that it is an acute hazardous waste that originates with a discarded commercial chemical product. Acute hazardous waste does count towards a business’ hazardous waste generator category, and generating just one kilogram of acutely hazardous waste per month will qualify them for Very Small Quantity Generator status (VSQG).

Furthermore, it is necessary to keep in mind that most states are authorized to implement RCRA regulations themselves, and they are free to make more stringent hazardous waste requirements. Though one kilogram of acutely hazardous waste is the federal cutoff for VSQG status, your state may have a lower threshold.

If you have any E-liquid waste to dispose of, contact Clean Management for a free quote.


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