The Local Government Association says 1.3 million vapes are thrown away each week and wants them banned by 2024, according to published reports last weekend.

Single-use varieties have surged in popularity, driven by Chinese brands such as Elfbar and Lost Mary.

The UK Vaping Industry Association says they help smokers quit and can be recycled.

Disposable vapes offer a few hundred puffs of nicotine-containing vapour, often with an added flavour of fruit or sweets, in bright plastic packaging – which are thrown away when empty.

They are easier to use than conventional vapes, or e-cigarettes, which need to be refilled with pods or liquid.

Disposable ones also contain a small lithium battery, which can increase in temperature when crushed, causing fires in bin lorries, the Local Government Association (LGA) warns. Figures from research firm NielsenIQ suggest the problem could be even bigger than that. It says nearly 300 million e-cigarettes (disposable and otherwise) were sold in the UK over the last year.

Elfbar and Lost Mary, which are made by the same Chinese firm, Shenzhen Imiracle Technology Co, made up more than half that number. That is an increase of more than four times compared to their sales the year before.

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.”

Councils are not against vaping altogether as they believe vapes are less harmful than tobacco and can help smokers to quit.