The Campbell County Fiscal Court approved a motion to apply for a grant to place collection containers in schools to dispose of e-cigarettes safely.
The grant application will be completed by the end of the month. If the grant is awarded, the project will start mid-to-late September in Campbell County Middle School, Campbell County High School, Bellevue Middle/High School, and Newport Central Catholic High School.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Services offers the Environmental Stewardship Project Grant. Campbell County Solid Waste Coordinator Megan Clere said the grant is purely to provide proper disposal of confiscated e-cigarettes, which contain two hazardous items, a liquid nicotine mixture and lithium-ion batteries.
“If they are not being properly disposed of, they end up in our local landfills,” Clere said. “Lithium-ion batteries are well known to react and catch fire. This is an issue for us every step of the way to the landfill—from our own trash can to the garbage truck to the landfill cell.”
The grant will provide containers made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (a thermoplastic and amorphous polymer) under lock and key. The grant will also cover the disposal cost of e-cigarettes, Clere said.
“It’s (the grant) a unique impact of the current vaping, e-cigarette, etc. epidemic in schools,” Campbell County Administrator Matt Elberfeld said. “Those devices contain lithium-ion batteries and harmful chemicals, and right now, schools don’t have a good way to recycle seized devices; they generally just sit in a desk drawer in an administrative office. This grant helps us partner with participating school districts to provide safe containers and proper disposal.”
Clere said school resource officers and school staff initially sought out the project. Clere will collect the e-cigarettes from the schools and transport them to the local electronics recycler for proper disposal.