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Pedestrian shares concerning photo of discarded items outside school: 'This is absolutely awful'

"The worst kind of e-waste."

"The worst kind of e-waste."

Photo Credit: iStock

A disturbing photo of discarded e-cigarettes circulated Reddit's r/awfuleverything forum. 

"Vape dump outside my school," wrote the pedestrian who shared the image.

The photo shows at least 10 discarded vapes, but according to the pedestrian who shared the image, there were twice as many e-cigarettes littering the ground.

"The worst kind of e-waste."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Redditors were appalled by the blatant littering and lack of respect for the environment. 

"Disposable vapes are the worst kind of e-waste," wrote one user. "There's literally no reason that those things can't be re-used other than that they're not built with a refilling hole and a charge lead."

"This is absolutely awful for the environment," commented another Redditor.

Vaping has become a widespread problem across the U.S., posing both health and environmental risks. The toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes cause lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and, in severe cases, cancer.

In the U.S. alone, one e-cigarette is thrown out every 4.5 seconds; however, only a fraction of the total discarded vapes are properly recycled

According to a data set collected in 2020, 51% of young e-cigarette users reported disposing of used e-cigarette pods or empty disposables in the trash, 17% in a regular recycling bin not designed for e-cigarette waste, and 10% reported they simply throw them on the ground.

Every time an e-cigarette ends up rotting in the ground, it contributes to the increasing problem of plastic waste across the globe. Plastic products like e-cigarettes can take thousands of years to decompose, leaching toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the soil during that time period.

On top of the plastic waste, e-cigarettes pose an even greater environmental risk due to their use of lithium batteries. These batteries can be flammable, and when they are not properly disposed of, they can start fires.

Redditors were concerned about the lithium batteries used in e-cigarettes.

"Are they even rechargeable, or do they use alkaline?" asked one user.

"100% of the vapes I've opened have had li-ion batteries. (Over 20 different models)," responded another Redditor.

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