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Electronic Cigarettes

Wastes in this section are dangerous to you and the environment. Handle them carefully and dispose of them properly. Legally, households may not transport more than 15 gallons of wet or 125 pounds of dry hazardous materials. Read about the regulation.

Disposal Challenge

Electronic or "e" cigarettes contain hazardous constituents that can't go in the trash. The lithium batteries inside contain heavy metals and are very reactive. Lithium batteries from cell phones, computers, and other devices have caused fires at waste management facilities across the US. E-cigarettes also contain residual nicotine and may contain residual oil.

Nicotine, which has been used as an insecticide, is classified as an acutely hazardous waste. Spilling a high concentration of nicotine onto the skin can cause intoxication or even death, as nicotine readily absorbs into the bloodstream.

Manufacturer Take-Back

Ideally, manufacturers and retailers would take back used and unwanted e-cigarettes. In this type of system, called product stewardship or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), manufacturers create, fund, and operate recycling and disposal programs for their products at the end of life. In Santa Barbara County, we have EPR programs for products such as paint, mattresses, and pharmaceuticals.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson has a bill currently circulating in committee that would prohibit the sale of single-use electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, as well as conventional cigarettes that use single-use filters. The bill, SB 424, would also require a manufacturer-funded take-back program for the reusable components of multi-use cigarettes.

Local Collection Options

In the absence of a manufacturer take-back program, unwanted e-cigarettes and batteries should be brought to a household hazardous waste collection facility or hazardous waste collection event. Please note that batteries must be removed from the devices ahead of time. Please see below for locations.

Where to go