By Alexandra Wee
Using them is one thing — but disposing of sex toys? Here’s where things can get sticky (and not the fun kind).
Sure, the thought of your garbage collector spotting your Rabbit vibrator among empty soda cans is cringe-y AF, but most sex toys are either made of plastic—and not the #1 through #7 kind—or mixed synthetic materials, like silicone and rubber. It’s unlikely that your curbside recycling program will accept them, anyway.
In fact, many facilities even consider sex toys biohazards (sorry, bodily fluids) and won’t accept them even if you dropped them off yourself and took out the batteries. Oh right, batteries...
On the flip side, if you went ahead and tossed your gag ball into the garbage, like other trash, it runs the risk of emitting carcinogenic gases in the air when incinerated. *Definitely* not sexy.
So, what’s a person to do when it’s time to let go of an old toy? Well, if you’re comfortable, some sex-positive folks are swapping their sex toys (consider it an extra intimate clothing swap).
If you’re not down to play that way, there are a few mail-in programs that will happily take in your pre-loved lovers. In Canada, Toronto-based co-op sex shop Come As You Are works with the country’s first and only sex toy recycling program to help give your old silicone strap-ons and pumps a second life. Meanwhile, in the UK, you can send in any and all vibrators to the folks at Lovehoney. Sadly, one of the only known sex toy recycling programs in America, which ran out of Portland’s Scarlet Girl shop, is no longer in operation.
While you wait for your local sex shop to kick off the next awesome take-back program, here are a few tips for finding sexy and sustainable playthings.
Use what you have
Of course, the most eco-friendly option here is to use what you already own. Think tights (stretchy and soft!) or belts for bondage, or ties or thin scarves as blindfolds. Some sex-friendly bloggers are even sharing DIY-kink ideas using household objects, from vibrating toothbrush handles and back massagers, to clothespins (be sure to cover any of these ~sex toys~ in a condom — safety first).
This green rule of thumb doesn’t just apply to your trips to the farmer’s market. If you can, skip ordering online and head to your local sex toy shop, chat with the experts, and get top toy tips. Not only will you be supporting local businesses, but you’ll also save on energy and packaging costs that come with deliveries.
Most sex toys you’ll see are made of silicone, but there are also wood and glass alternatives that are much less harsh on the environment. And if thoughts of splinters or breakage are making you quiver, fear not; toy makers like Crystal Delights and NobEssence stick to sturdy borosilicate glass and coated, polished wood, respectively (read: smooth AF).
Ready to go shopping? Here’s some inspo to get you started:
Here comes the sun, amirite? Just set this solar-powered bullet out by a sunny spot for the day and you’ll be charged up by nighttime.
Luminous Glass Dildo, $130
These babies are strong enough to survive your hot and heaviest sesh, yet gentle enough for the ultimate glide. Plus, they’re hand-blown in the USA, so extra points for supporting artisan… blowers.
Phthalate-free, waterproof, rechargeable, and sized to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand (and, well, everywhere else). Need I say more?
What are some of your favorite eco-friendly ways to get sexy? Share your tips ‘n’ tricks with us in the comments!
Alexandra is a freelance writer who loves the planet as much as she loves dogs (so, a lot). Her work has appeared in Martha Stewart and Time Out New York. When she’s not writing, you can find her buying ugly produce at the farmer’s market or trying to do yoga.