A festive-themed project has highlighted the sheer scale of disposable vapes abandoned on British streets.
Elf Bar products come in various flavours such as Cotton Candy Ice, Blueberry Sour Apple and Pink Lemonade.
They’re cheap – costing less than £5 from most newsagents – and increasingly popular with young people.
Vapes have also recently joined the ranks of fag butts and nitrous-oxide canisters in being routinely littered on street corners.
According to a joint investigation by Material Focus and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, over 50% of single-use vapes are thrown away – around 1.3 million each week.
Lara Baxter, 29, and Alice Goodrich 27, have now taken matters into their own hands after growing frustrated at the Elf Bar remnants scattered across London.
The friends have now launched the #NoMoreDeadElfs project on Instagram.
When either stumble on an abandoned Elf Bar, they take the name literally and adorn the plastic device with a little felt hat and sad face.
Pictures of the creations are then posted with festive messages such as ‘Last Christmas I gave you my vape, but the very next day you threw it away’.
Another post on the account reads: ‘It’s naughty and not very nice to make Elfs so hard to recycle.’
Alice and Lara say they have got Elf Bar’s attention, ‘but have yet to get them to take responsibility.’
Alice told Metro.co.uk: ‘The streets have been becoming increasingly filled with Elf Bars ever since they became popular in summer. Lara even saw security guards at Glastonbury selling them – they really have become a craze.
‘As we started moving into Autumn we would see at least one a day on the streets of London and would send each other a picture. It’s so frustrating to see them everywhere – so incredibly wasteful.’
The friends hope their campaign can act as a larger inspiration and reflect the need for companies to take ownership of the carbon footprint their products create.
As Elf Bars increase in popularity and as profits rise, they feel more can be invested in ‘positive change’.
Alice added: ‘Companies are responsible for what they put out in the world. We’re living in a time where we need to be super conscientious of our effect on the planet, and by companies ignoring this so brazenly, it diminishes the impact of everything we hear about climate change.
‘We’re becoming totally numb to headlines about the imminent destruction of our planet, and there’s greenwashing happening all over the place. It’s up to big companies to be on top of the problems they’re causing.
‘As consumers, we’re giving them money, so they’ve got the resources to make a positive change.’
The Dead Elf creations are posted on Instagram, with the official Elf Bar account tagged, before Lara and Alice remove them and, using pliers, dissect the vape so it can be recycled.
They hope others can share pictures of their own finds.
While the campaign is festive themed, Alice and Lara aren’t going to down their tools come December 31.
They added: ‘We think Elf Bar should be making some New Year’s Resolutions about becoming a more sustainable company that clearly communicate with their customers how to recycle their products.
‘Watch this space, we’re not done with them yet.’
Elf Bar have been contacted by Metro.co.uk for comment.
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