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Trash picker questions increased disposable vapes found littered around neighborhood: 'It's really upsetting'

"They are everywhere at the beach."

"They are everywhere at the beach."

Photo Credit: iStock

The r/TrashLove subreddit is a forum for people who like to go out and pick up trash in their communities — a wonderful, collective-minded thing to do that makes the world a bit better for everyone around them. 

One such trash picker recently posted on the forum, asking a simple question: "Went out again. We keep finding vapes. Is this a common occurrence?"

"They are everywhere at the beach."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Unfortunately, the answer was a resounding yes. Disposable vape cartridges have grown increasingly ubiquitous in recent years, and the other members of the subreddit have also been finding them all over the place.

"This is a big problem here in Germany too. People lose them everywhere. It's the same behaviour like with the cigarette butts but even worse," one commenter wrote

"They are everywhere at the beach. Average one every two blocks," another wrote.

"It's really upsetting. It's like tossing a whole battery out. Definitely not something to throw into the environment," the original poster commented.

The poster was, sadly, correct in that assessment. A battery wrapped in plastic is definitely not a good thing to litter, even compared to other common types of litter (which are also bad).

In addition to being made out of single-use plastics that will remain in the environment basically forever, vapes — or e-cigarettes as they are sometimes called — contain heavy metals, lead, mercury, nicotine salts, and flammable battery components. These substances can all be extremely harmful to the health of humans and wildlife once they make their way into water sources.

Another area of concern around disposable vapes is the way that they are marketed to children. Though vapes are often billed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, scientific research does not back up that claim. According to the American Lung Association, the vapor inhaled from these devices can contain acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde.

Littered vapes have also, somewhat unexpectedly, destroyed an astonishing number of car tires — the small rigid devices seem almost perfectly designed to cause a flat whenever they are run over.

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