Disposable pod vaporizers VS rechargeable and refillable

One-use e-cigarettes are causing quite the uproar lately due to how easy they are to use, becoming quite the popular product. However, the negative impact they’re having on the environment is truly worrying. In this post we’ll explain why refillable vapes are better.
pod recargable

Index of contents

While the debate surrounding e-cigarettes has centered on the health repercussions, with studies showing that vaping is less damaging than smoking tobacco, although not much has been said about the environmental repercussions that these one-use devices can cause.

While it’s true that smoking is a habit that generates millions of cigarette butts that dirty the water and contaminate the planet, the new trend of consuming disposable vapes is becoming increasingly dangerous.

Additionally, you don’t actually save money or time when using a disposable vape. So, what exactly is happening? We’ll explain our point of view in the following post.

What are Disposable Pods or Vapes?

The growing trend of quitting smoking has made millions of consumers around the planet choose vaping as a healthier method; whether it’s as a step towards stopping smoking or as an alternative.

This new way of consuming has made companies in the sector start creating devices designed to vape e-liquids that attract consumers. Disposable pods seem to be extremely popular and they keep on growing.

These devices are simply non-refillable nor chargeable e-cigarettes that offer a limited use (usually around 600 to 2000 drags). Once the e-liquid has run out, they’re useless (600 drags is usually 2ml), and they end up in the trash, in the best-case scenario.

In summary, after years of researching vaping devices and other electronic devices, they still weren’t able to be refilled or charged. How is this possible? Could you imagine phones not being able to be charged? Let’s have a closer look at how this happened.

refillable vape
Refillable pods are super easy to fill – it takes just 30 seconds, which is why the idea that disposable pods are easier to use isn’t entirely true. We think that it’s worth losing 30 seconds every 400-600 drags, right?

Why are Disposable Vapes so Popular Among Consumers?

It seems unlikely that consumers would prefer a disposable product rather than a higher quality, durable one, especially with disposable pods being easier to recycle even though they do generate waste. We can’t understand how consumers can be using up a battery a week (or more in regular consumers), spending more money and causing a real environmental disaster.

However, the existence of e-cigarettes just keeps going up, which is why it’s worthy analyzing the factors that are contributing to this tendency. What could possibly be causing consumers to be using disposable vapes?

Ready to Consume from the Start

We live in an era of immediacy and instant satisfaction – we want everything, and we want it now! This might be the reason disposable e-cigarettes have managed to seduce quite a large group of consumers because they’re ready to go as soon as they open them – just open the pack up and inhale.

However, there are many different refillable vape pen models that, when it comes down to it, only need to be refilled with an e-liquid and charged. While it’s true that these devices aren’t ready to go from the moment you open them, it’s quite a simple and fast process – it takes around 30 seconds to refill them).

That’s why it’s worth thinking about the repercussions that the more comfortable disposable vapes have, as they have a larger number of contaminating materials that can’t be recycled, compared to refillable vapes.

A Product That Seems Cheaper (but it’s not)

Another possible factor that has made this type of vape grow in popularity among younger consumers is that they’re slightly cheaper (or so it seems) than refillable ones. However, these vape pens are around 10 euro each, offering 600 uses with around 2ml per disposable pack.

If you compare this with 10ml e-liquid for 7,5 euro, which is the usual price for e-liquids for refilling your vape pen, the difference in price is abysmal. If you add it all up, in order to get 10ml e-liquid you’d need to buy 5 disposable vape pens for a total of 50 euro.

It’s true that refillable vapes tend to be more expensive to start with (depending especially on the battery capacity), but when compared to disposable vapes, you end up spending significantly less money over time.

There are also high quality refillable vapes that offer better performance and durability, capable of lasting up to a week if intense vaping without needing to be charged.

On the other hand, e-liquids are a lot more affordable than tobacco – when you get a disposable product you’re essentially paying for a new battery and cartridge each time. Keeping in mind that 600 drags is approximately 35-40 cigarettes, a disposable vape is not cheaper than 2 packets of tobacco.

Comparing Spending: Disposable Vapes vs Refillable Vapes

Let’s have a look at a comparison between:

  • Affordable disposable vapes (10-15€)
  • Iore Lite by ELeaf vape + 10ml e-liquid with Cali Terpenes terpenes (19.50€)

In reality, the amount you’ll spend will depend on the amount of e-liquids that you consume.

The initial investment when it comes to disposable vapes can go from 10 to 15 euros approx, and a refillable one costs around 12 to 19 euro. However, the difference can be seen over time; you’ll end up spending more on disposable vapes compared to refillable.

Do Disposable Pods Contain High Quality e-Liquids?

There’s a bit of everything out there; we always recommend reading the instructions on your products and check their ingredients.

High Content in Vegetable Glycerine

According to testing that we’ve done in different stores and locations, most e-liquids in pods contain around 50% vegetable glycerin.

If you’ve read any of our previous posts, according to different studies, above 20% of vegetable glycerin can cause lipoid pneumonia, because an excess of glycerin can cause the e-liquid to remain in the lungs.

Nicotine, a Compound that Keeps you Coming Back

Nicotine is highly addictive and toxic, and some companies have developed nicotine designed for highly addictive e-liquids. Plus, vaping was mainly designed to reduce or get rid of tobacco consumption and therefor nicotine – why keep consuming it? Check out this post about not needing nicotine to quit smoking.

Not ALL e-liquids contain nicotine, although disposable pods and cartridges tend to contain intense, strong chemical additives that are usually found in higher quantities than others, trying to uncover nicotine’s unpleasant flavor.

How Much do Disposable Vapes Contaminate?

If we take the average disposable vape pen usage weekly, it means that just one consumer generates around 52 vapes a year, which go straight into the trash. It’s calculated that around 55 million people use this type of product, which means the waste generated is immense.

Plastic, Plastic and more Plastic – Our Plant’s Drowning

Disposable vape pens generate a large amount of residues that are hard and sometimes impossible to recycle. On one hand, each device has a plastic casing that adds on to the long list of residual plastics that our planet isn’t designed to deal with. It’s calculated that plastic can take between 100 and 1000 years to degrade, which means that this amount of vapes will take generations to disappear.

At Cali Terpenes, we believe in leaving behind as little as possible and we do everything we can in order to create the smallest impact on the planet possible, as well as taking direct action to give nature its power back.

That’s why our e-liquid containers are made using recycled plastics – the idea is to give this material a second life, instead of ending up in a landfill where it will take hundreds of years to degrade and ruin our planet in the process.

Plus, we collaborate with recycling companies and waste handling companies to ensure the smallest impact possible.
We always try to collaborate and help directly or indirectly with preserving the environment. If you’re not able to reduce residues, you an collaborate in other ways – together, we’re powerful, which we showed with the reforesting Doñana project.

Disposable Batteries, the Most Dangerous Element

However, the environmental threat proposed by these devices doesn’t only lie in the amount of plastic their consumption generates. Disposable electronic cigarettes are made up of plastic capsules, vaping liquid and a small battery.

When these items are thrown away, they contribute to the threat caused by batteries contaminating water, flora and fauna. Numerous different environmental studies have shown that an alkaline battery can contaminate up to 167,000 liters of water, and one of these vapes’ batteries, up to 600000.

Keep in mind that most batteries aren’t recycles, as many consumers don’t think of bringing them to a recycling point, and companies don’t make it easy to recycle them.

On the other hand, chargeable vaporizers can last for years when maintained correctly, all you have to do is change the atomizer every now and then.

Non-refillable Pods? The Devolution of Vaping

Another element in these vapes, and something that’s quite interesting are the capsules or pods, as they’re not refillable. Keep in mind that pods usually only contain 2ml, so it’s possible that you may end up finishing the e-liquid before the battery.

The refillable pod system has existed for years – why make them disposable if you an extend their life by simply adding an opening on the side?

The answer is easy – after 600 inhales you’ll need to buy a completely new one.

Environmental Impact Comparison

This time, we’ll compare the environmental impact produced by disposable vapes compared to the cheapest refillable ones.

We’re using 2ml a week as an example (this is quite low in comparison with regular vapers).

Let’s compare models again:

  • Disposable vape (10-15€)
  • Iore Lite ELeaf Vape + Cali Terpenes e-liquid (19.50€)
Assuming an average use of 2ml e-liquid a week, it’s pretty clear: in just one month, a disposable vape would produce 5 batteries + 5 capsules, while refillable Iore Lite vapes would still be using the same capsule and battery.

How to Reduce Environmental Impact when Vaping

Like we were saying, using refillable e-cigarettes involves a decrease in waste produced.

Plus, disposable products come and go so fast (lasting days, even hours) that consumers tend to just throw them straight in the trash, in the best of scenarios. They usually end up just thrown about anywhere.

Whether you’re using disposable vapes or need to retire an old reusable one, it’s important to always get rid of them at the right spot, as these types of harmful residues damage the environment if not given the correct treatment.

Now that you know more about how our environment deals with our habits, we recommend giving it a think and making a choice not only based on comfort or trends, but also on the safety of our planet.

Alternatives to Disposable Vapes

This is an easy one; refillable, chargeable vapes. In fact, the vaping world has been producing these for a while before certain companies (that don’t care about the environment) started the trend of disposable pods.

You’re probably thinking that chargeable vapes are more expensive, but that’s not true. The initial investment required is definitely higher, but after just a few days you’ll be saving money compared to chargeable vapes (as seen in the image).

Summary: Pros and Cons of Disposable Vapes vs Reusable Vapes

After explaining a little bit about why disposable vapes are objectively worse in almost every aspect when compared with reusable ones, let’s summarize.

Disposable Vapes


  • Easy to use, ready to use.


  • Low durability, not chargeable.
  • Limited e-liquid capacity, not refillable.
  • Appears to be cheaper but ends up costing more in the long run.

Reusable Vapes


  • Easy to use.
  • Can be refilled, takes 30 seconds. Can also be used with different e-liquids by changing cartridges.
  • Longer lasting battery, and most important, CHARGEABLE.


  • May be more expensive to buy initially, although this is made up for quite fast, as disposable vapes have limited capacity.
refillable pod
After analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of these types of devices, we’re pretty certain that the best thing for both the planet and your pocket are reusable vapes, not disposable ones.

So, do disposable batteries still have life in them? It seems so, although at Cali Terpenes we won’t be selling them. We may be a company, but at the end of the day we’re people that live in a planet that we’re trying to respect, and give back as much as possible.

What do you think? Let us know below.

Until next time!

Cali Terpenes

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