August 25, 2023
Monroe County is the first in the state and one of the first in the nation to offer a vape and e-cigarette elimination program for residents and schools.
Today, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced that more than 5,500 vape and e-cigarette devices have been collected from the Monroe County/WM Ecopark since its launch in August 2022. That equates to more than 340 pounds of devices transported to a Clean Harbors facility. for safe disposal. Two-thirds of vapes collected in the past year come from school districts. One-third of the vapes were dropped off by the community during normal Monroe County/WM Ecopark hours of operation.
“I am heartened to see the impact this program has had in removing so many vapes and e-cigarette devices from our schools. These devices are not only harmful to our health, but can also harm our environment if disposed of incorrectly. This impressive collection of vapes disposed of in the first year of our disposal program means less hazardous materials in our landfills and waterways,” said County Executive Bello. “I want to thank our team at the Department of Environmental Services and our partners at WM and Clean Harbors for all they do to dispose of this hazardous waste safely.”
Vapes and e-cigarettes contain lithium and lithium-ion batteries which can present a fire and explosion hazard. The liquid nicotine in vapes and e-cigarettes is considered acute hazard waste by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can become a poison hazard if released into waterways. or plumbing. Liquid THC is considered pharmaceutical waste and should be disposed of as such.
The Monroe County Health Department and Department of Environmental Services also accept these devices from school districts, providing a way to properly dispose of any confiscated vaping device in their possession if they enroll in the generator program. County Conditionally Exempt Small Quantities (CESQG). Several districts used the program, which resulted in the collection of more than 3,600 vape pens and electronic cigarettes.
“Vape products are hazardous waste, especially those containing nicotine or THC cartridges. Devices dropped on the ground can be washed down storm drains and end up in treatment plants and local water bodies, causing significant damage to our wildlife and environment. said Mike Garland, director of the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services. “Thank you to the Bello County Executive and our amazing partners at WM and Clean Harbors for working together on this innovative partnership to get rid of these toxic materials.”
“Vaping is a major concern in schools and has truly become a national epidemic,” said Kathleen Graupman, superintendent of Greece’s Central School District. “Nationally, more than a quarter of high school students report vaping at least once a month. Our district confiscates hundreds of vaping devices each year. vaping intervention designed for our students. We appreciate the county for prioritizing this issue and creating a safe space for the proper disposal of the devices we confiscate.
“We are thrilled to mark the first anniversary of our Vape Disposal program – an initiative that underscores our unwavering commitment to protecting the health of our community, especially our youth. » said Hannah Weltzer of the Livingston and Monroe Counties Tobacco and Health Action Coalition. “As tobacco control advocates, we have applauded the collaborative efforts of this measure and the progress we have made in the community by parents, students and educators regarding the potential risks associated with tobacco use. E-cigarette. For the past year, the Vape Disposal Program here at Monroe County/WM Ecopark has provided our community and schools with the opportunity to dispose of these devices in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. environment.
Residents are encouraged to bring their used or unused vape pens, electronic cigarettes and e-liquids to the ecopark for safe disposal. These items must be handled with nitrile or latex gloves and stored and delivered to the ecopark in a waterproof container. Any leaking product or e-liquid cartridge must be contained in a sealable plastic/Ziploc bag.
No appointment is necessary and no charge to the public to drop off vapes and cartridges at Monroe County/WM Ecopark.
Monroe County/WM Ecopark is open Wednesdays from 1-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, visit monroecounty.gov/ecopark.