Become a vape recycler

E-cigarettes contain batteries (lithium batteries) that are comprised of valuable raw materials as well as hazardous substances. Empty e-cigarettes need to be recycled in order to ensure that raw materials can be recovered and no hazardous substances are released into the environment. Importers and retailers in Switzerland are obliged by law to take back all types of disused e-cigarettes.

There’s so much stuff in an e-cigarette

What is an e-cigarette?

An e-cigarette is a small, battery-driven electrical appliance. In contrast to classical cigarettes, it does not burn any tobacco, but rather electrically heats a fluid (known as “e-liquid”), causing it to give off steam. This is why electronic cigarettes are often also referred to as “e-hookahs” or “vapes” (because they “vaporise” the liquid). There are both disposable and reusable e-cigarettes.

What is the difference between a disposable and a reusable e-cigarette?

Disposable e-cigarettes contain around 600 puffs. They are comprised of a round shell, a tank containing liquid and a battery, which cannot be changed.

Reusable e-cigarettes also have a battery carrier. The battery can be changed or recharged. The liquid tank can also be changed and refilled. This means that reusable e-cigarettes last for much longer than disposable e-cigarettes. They can last on average – depending upon consumer habits – for one to two years.

How are e-cigarettes made?

E-cigarettes are comprised of a case, mouthpiece, lithium-ion battery, electrical vaporiser and small tank containing the liquid. Disposable e-cigarettes also have a battery carrier (MOD).

Which raw materials do e-cigarettes contain?

E-cigarettes contain batteries, specifically lithium batteries. The advantage of lithium is that it is extremely light and stores a lot of energy, which can be quickly released. It is therefore also used in smartphone, laptop and electric car batteries. Other valuable raw materials include cobalt, nickel, copper and aluminium, which all need to be put back into circulation.

Where can I hand in my empty e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes can be returned throughout Switzerland free of charge at any sales outlet that includes e-cigarettes in its product range. Alternatively, they can be taken to the nearest SENS collection point.

Damaged e-cigarettes must be returned to a SENS collection centre. 

10 cents for environmentally friendly disposal

SENS eRecycling finances the costs of collection, transportation, raising consumer awareness and disposal of e-cigarettes through an advance recycling contribution (ARC). It currently amounts to 10 cents for disposable or reusable e-cigarettes as well as battery carriers, or 5 cents for battery carriers without a battery (cf. table).

ARC category according to appliance
ARC tariff excluding VAT
Disposable cigarettes
CHF 0.10
Reusable cigarettes
CHF 0.10
Battery carriers (including a built-in battery)
CHF 0.10
Battery carriers without a battery
CHF 0.10

The ARC is levied by manufacturers or importers as a fixed amount on the sale price and is subject to value added tax. It cannot be incorporated into pricing policy as a marketing instrument.

Disposal by licensed recycling plants

E-cigarettes are exclusively recycled by recycling plants that have the required permits and a SENS licence to process the corresponding device category. SENS eRecycling periodically audits the recyclers’ companies and infrastructure. The audits focus on aspects related to the environment and occupational safety.


Each year, SENS eRecycling informs cooperation partners concerning the number of kilogrammes of e-cigarettes collected and disposed of in Switzerland during the previous year. SENS eRecycling is exploring the expansion of activities within the circular economy movement (reuse and refurbish, etc.). Suitable measures, if ecologically and economically sensible, are implemented in consultation with the industry.