July 18, 2022
Another story of explosions and vape batteries has arisen, but no longer due to mismanagement. Lithium ion batteries from disposable vapes are being used to power drones fighting in the Ukrainian war.
Nowadays, wars are dependent on electronic devices. Such devices need electricity, and on battlefields, electricity is best carried around batteries rather than through cords. Lithium ion batteries tend to be the preferred batteries, as they allow for higher outputs and can be recharged.
The ongoing war increased the demand for lithium batteries, and their prices rose.
“Lithium batteries used to cost $1 each but went up five times in price adding significantly to our costs,” says Maksym Sheremet, head of “Drone Lab” – the organization using vape batteries to power drones. While vapes are technically banned in Ukraine, as with most bans, people stockpiled vapes and continued vaping. When the war came, some had a minor pile of disposable vapes that needed to be recycled
Vapes are exceptionally annoying to recycle due. Their components mean they are considered electronic waste, but the nicotine in them means they are also classified as biohazards. Very few facilities are qualified to take both, so even environmentally minded vapers may end up throwing them away.
But to someone with electrical knowledge and a need for batteries, disposable vapes are only a few modifications away from becoming a valuable power source for other devices.
Within Drone Labs, 60 volunteers are working on drones, and 30 of those volunteers are working on drones powered from electronic cigarettes. The organization has 2000 orders for drones lined up.
Though it is currently restricted to wartime zones, reusing disposable vape components is something that may happen more in the future. Electronics are becoming more widespread, components are running low, and recycling ewaste becomes more appealing.
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