The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has issued comprehensive guidance for retailers concerning the implementation of vape recycling services within its stores.

The guidelines necessitate all retailers, regardless of the type of store, to offer a dedicated facility for consumers to return used or unwanted vape products.

Changes to previous schemes

Under the newly introduced regulations, all retailers selling vapes are now obligated to provide a recycling facility within their premises.

Previously, retailers selling less than £100,000 ($127.68m) worth of vapes and other electrical and electronic equipment were eligible to participate in the Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS).

However, the DTS, which continues for other electronic items, no longer includes vapes. Instead, retailers offering these products must independently ensure a means for customers to recycle them.

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Minimum requirements for retailers

Retailers are required to offer a vape recycling facility on a one-for-one basis, implying that they must accept a used vape for recycling when a customer purchases a new one.

While this is the minimum requirement, many retailers are expected to place bins or containers in-store to facilitate the return of vapes, which is also in compliance with the guidelines.

ACS encourages adherence to guidelines

The ACS is urging all retailers involved in the sale of vapes to familiarise themselves with the new guidance. The document outlines the procedures for accepting returned vapes, ensuring their safe storage, and arranging regular collection services.

Retailers must also communicate information about their respective vape recycling services to customers, and the ACS has provided a template poster to assist in this regard.

ACS CEO James Lowman emphasised the importance of retailers understanding their new responsibilities, stating:

“Providing recycling facilities for vapes is an important step in tackling the environmental impact of these products, so it’s essential that retailers who sell vapes are aware of their new responsibilities when it comes to takeback and collection from the store.”

Enforcement and compliance

Enforcement of these regulations will be overseen by the Office for Product Safety and Standards, with penalties for non-compliance set to be implemented from April 2024.

All retailers are expected to have a policy in place by the end of March to ensure adherence to the new guidelines.