Over 1,000 single use vapes recycled by student start up VapeBox at Electric Picnic

Lucy Daly and Katelyn Davis, co-founders of VapeBox, spoke to Trinity News about their upcoming plans to expand the project and reach more students

Student enterprise VapeBox collected 1078 single-use vapes at Electric Picnic.

53 Vapeboxes were deployed in various locations across the festival including at all entrances to the main festival area.

The 1078 single use vapes collected and recycled totaled 162 grams of lithium, 11 kilograms of plastic waste and 2 kilograms of copper.

Held in Stradbally, Co. Laois, the festival organisers banned the use of e-cigarettes a week prior to the festival.

VapeBox Co-Founder Lucy Daly said the lithium thrown in landfills in the UK last year due to vapes “could have made the batteries for more than half the iPhones sold in that same period.”

“From a safety point of view as well, there’s 3 bin-truck fires across Europe caused by batteries like those in vapes being incorrectly placed in the black bin and then compressed,” she said.

Founded by Daly and Katelyn Davis, VapeBox provides bins for disposable vapes at bars, pubs and other social settings.

Boxes are in locations such as Wigwam, the IADT campus and NCI with the pair “currently speaking to a number of other universities and bars to take this even further.”

VapeBox was invited to Electric Picnic by Festival Republic.

VapeBox is also currently recruiting students for their VapeBox Student Ambassador Program.

“We just wanted to get students in the colleges that have VapeBoxes more involved in the program, this also helps us to promote that they’re there and ensure they’re used properly more easily,” said Daly.

The duo are also “hoping to add some more boxes in the student spaces on campus in the next week or two due to the success of the one in the Pav”.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has recently indicated plans for a potential ban on disposable vapes, citing one of the reasons being the difficulty that comes with recycling them.

Discussions have been had about banning single use vapes under the Circular Economy Act where they would be banned as falling under the category of a single use plastic.

When asked if such a ban would be feasible, Daly said people will likely source vapes online or from “people selling them themselves which could have negative health benefits as these won’t be monitored products for nicotine levels and other chemicals.”

“This also unfortunately means there’d still be waste created but we’d be unable to recycle it anymore,” she said.

Daly urged people to properly dispose of vapes and encouraged students to reach out to them through social media to suggest new spaces for disposable boxes.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.