Hazardous waste status of discarded electronic cigarettes

Waste Manag. 2015 May;39:57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.02.005. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


The potential for disposable electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to be classified as hazardous waste was investigated. The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) was performed on 23 disposable e-cigarettes in a preliminary survey of metal leaching. Based on these results, four e-cigarette products were selected for replicate analysis by TCLP and the California Waste Extraction Test (WET). Lead was measured in leachate as high as 50mg/L by WET and 40mg/L by TCLP. Regulatory thresholds were exceeded by two of 15 products tested in total. Therefore, some e-cigarettes would be toxicity characteristic (TC) hazardous waste but a majority would not. When disposed in the unused form, e-cigarettes containing nicotine juice would be commercial chemical products (CCP) and would, in the United States (US), be considered a listed hazardous waste (P075). While household waste is exempt from hazardous waste regulation, there are many instances in which such waste would be subject to regulation. Manufactures and retailers with unused or expired e-cigarettes or nicotine juice solution would be required to manage these as hazardous waste upon disposal. Current regulations and policies regarding the availability of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes worldwide were reviewed. Despite their small size, disposable e-cigarettes are consumed and discarded much more quickly than typical electronics, which may become a growing concern for waste managers.

Keywords: Hazardous waste; Lead; Nicotine; WEEE; e-cigarette; e-waste.

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Hazardous Waste / analysis*
  • Hazardous Waste / classification
  • Hazardous Waste / economics
  • Refuse Disposal* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Waste Management


  • Hazardous Waste