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images of different types of vaping devices, cartridges, batteries, and other vaping accessories

Boulder County Vape Aware

E-cigarettes or vaporizers are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution (or other substance) creating an aerosol that is inhaled into the lungs and released into the surrounding air. Information is still evolving on the long-term effects of these devices, but e-cigarettes and their components may pose significant risk both to individual health and to the earth. Boulder County Public Health is doing its part to make sure these devices don’t end up in the environment and cause additional harm.

Participating Vape Disposal Locations

Boulder County, City and County of Broomfield, and Town of Erie residents can dispose of vape waste for FREE at participating Vape Aware locations shown on the map.

Accepted items are:

  • Disposable devices
  • Cartridges and pods
  • Batteries
  • E-liquid

THC devices are not accepted.

There are health risks associated with vaping.

  • There are no e-cigarettes or vaporizers on the market that have been approved by the FDA to help people quit tobacco.
  • Though they may help some adult smokers transition from cigarettes, they are not intended for use by youth.
  • While Boulder County strives to support youth in making healthy choices, the county still experiences high rates of youth vaping.
  • Research on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes is still emerging, but there are plenty of short-term risks to consider.
    • E-cigarettes increase blood pressure, cause respiratory issues and diseases, can addict non-tobacco users to nicotine, affect the developing brain, and expose bystanders to secondhand smoke.

Health risks of using e-cigarettes (CDC)

Alert: Public Health Implications of Electronic Cigarette Waste

There are environmental risks associated with vaping.

  • Vape devices contain many hazardous components, including heavy metals, lithium ion batteries, microplastics, and toxic chemicals.
  • If improperly disposed of, these devices may pollute our public lands, harm wildlife, and find their way into our drinking water.
    • E-juice cartridges can leak nicotine into the environment.
    • Nicotine poses an acute hazardous waste, meaning that even in small doses, it may be lethal to humans, rats, or other animals.
    • While rare, batteries from vape devices can explode, posing serious risk of injury.
    • The heavy metals and acid found within batteries is not only corrosive to the environment but toxic to living beings.
  • You can help protect our community gardens, our public waterways, and our wildlife by disposing of these devices properly.

A toxic, plastic problem: E-cigarette waste and the environment (Truth Initiative)

Tips for safe storage and handling of vape devices:

  • Keep devices and liquids out of harm’s reach when not in use. Consider keeping devices and components in a plastic container to avoid nicotine spillage.
  • Make sure all tops/lids are secure.
  • Keep loose batteries in a plastic case to prevent contact with metal objects.
  • If devices are leaking, pace in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Call the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center at (800) 222 – 1222 if a child or pet swallows e-liquid or chews on a cartridge.

For the sake of the environment and the health of the public, e-cigarettes and e-liquids should be disposed of properly.

  • These devices are complex and the hazardous materials contained within them must be handled and disposed of by trained professionals.
  • Currently, no standardized way to recycle e-cigarettes exists anywhere in the country.
    • Almost half of vape users nationwide report that their current device(s) do not provide disposal information.
    • To date, no manufacturer has offered resources that help consumers make responsible disposal choices.
    • Boulder County’s Hazardous Materials Management Facility will dispose of these devices safely and free of charge to Boulder County residents.
      • Residents can bring nicotine only devices and e-liquids to HMMF or check out our list of partner vape stores to find a shop near you that accepts vape waste (devices and/or pods containing THC will not be accepted).

Vape Aware recognizes the importance of including capacity for sustainability in its programming. For this reason, Vape Aware is planning to explore policies to ensure sustainable funding for vape product waste recycling.

  • The policies being examined by Vape Aware would include provisions to financially support the cost of safely disposing of vape product waste and establish countywide protocol for the proper disposal of these items.
  • Education on the environmental impacts of these devices will be at the forefront of Vape Aware’s work. The team believes that an educated consumer body can shift their behavior to create positive change that has lasting environmental impact.

Individuals Seeking Info on Local Hazardous Waste Facilities

Keeping the environment clean in partnership with Ridwell and The Happy Beetle

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Tobacco Education and Prevention Program (TEPP)

Main: 303-413-7540
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3482 Broadway
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Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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