Retailers warned to be aware of vape and e-cigarette regulations

March 29th, 2024 2:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

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CORK retailers have been urged to be vigilant about the regulatory landscape surrounding disposable and rechargeable vape devices and e-cigarettes, as non-compliance could result in significant fines and legal consequences.

Launching its Vape Retailer Compliance Awareness Campaign, WEEE Ireland (e-waste and battery recycling scheme) said that purchasing vapes from an unregistered supplier could lead to fines ranging from €500 to €2,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

WEEE Ireland has 1,392 registered retailers in Cork who could be impacted if they unknowingly purchase from an unregistered importer of e-cigarettes or vape devices.

Enforcement campaigns are currently underway across the distribution and retail sector to ensure companies supplying e- cigarettes and vape devices are in compliance with the regulations.

‘Disposable and rechargeable vapes, as well as e-cigarette devices and their batteries, fall under the scope of the European WEEE Directive, European Battery Regulations, and Irish WEEE Regulations,’ said Elizabeth O’Reilly, head of environmental compliance at WEEE Ireland.

‘Some importers may not be meeting their legal obligations and acting at an illegal competitive advantage over compliant producers. For distributors and retailers, purchasing products from an unregistered supply chain can incur extended producer responsibility under these regulations,’ she said.

‘This includes registration with the Producer Register Ltd, reporting monthly sales in Ireland, and financing takeback and recycling solutions for waste vapes and batteries from end-users.

‘We encourage distributors and retailers to review new and existing supply chains and request confirmation of EEE and Battery Producer Registration in Ireland as part of procurement due diligence.’

To support compliance, WEEE Ireland said retailers should check if their supplier is registered as a Producer on the PRL website (www.producerregister. ie/producers).

Speaking of a retailer’s recycling obligations when it comes to vape devices, O’Reilly said it is essential for retailers to understand that so called disposable or single-use, and rechargeable vape devices contain batteries and are categorised as Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE) products.

‘Like any used electronic item, vapes can and should be recycled at the end of their life cycle. ‘Retailers are obligated to take these back on a one-forone, like-for-like basis in-store or on delivery,’ she said.

‘WEEE Ireland facilitates the collective take back of this e-waste for free recycling, via our Blue Battery Box System. These boxes are available for delivery and collection to retailers free of charge, to retailers to ensure the easy recycling of these waste devices,’ she concluded.

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