2023, Ohio, USA
Vapes of Wrath was a project done by Cullen Batsel and Ethan Hatcher that was focused on fixing the problems that vaping creates for health and the environment.
As high school students, they found evidence of vaping as an issue from firsthand experience. Many of their classmates were engaging in the behavior and it was an obvious issue. After doing research, they too realized that vaping was an environmental concern,
considering discarded e-cigarettes are hazardous waste and can contaminate local watersheds and ecosystems. E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals and lithium batteries which are considered toxic and hazardous waste and pollute water systems and soil. They wanted to address this issue first on a local level, in their communities. They implemented a two-fold program, including an educational and collection component. First, they educated people about the health issues and lesser-known environmental issues associated with vaping. They accomplished this through posters and through their website and referred to the FDA, NIH, and Truth Initiative.
Then they established several vape collection containers, locking sharp containers, and placed them in strategic and popular places in their community. This was a cost effective method that could be easily replicated throughout the state and nation. There are no public vaping disposal services available, so they were filling a complete void. Their project addressed several sustainable development goals as set forth by the United Nations: Good Health and Well-Being, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action.
This project was interesting for them because it was an opportunity to tackle something that is not often talked about. Because of the stigma that surrounds vaping, it is a topic that is often ignored. But Cullen and Ethan believe that ignoring a problem will only make it worse and that something needs to be done to solve the impacts of vaping.