Sustainability reaches into every part of your life. Every eco conscious person knows that waste and plastic are big environmental problems. Part of living a sustainable lifestyle and being a conscious consumer is reducing waste and disposing of it in a way that stops it from going into a landfill or ending up our oceans. This is extremely important when it comes plastic and electronic waste, the latter, depending on the materials, can even be considered as hazardous waste. Further we understand by now that an environmental problem also poses a health problem to humans.
I just spring-cleaned my entire apartment and went through every closet, drawer, cupboard, everything. I threw out quite a bit, old pots and pans, knives, electronic devices such as speakers, microphones, curling irons, sex toys, clothing and home decor.
Some of these things don’t go into your regular curbside recycling bin. Pots, pans and knives are scrap metal, so I looked up the closest scrap metal facility near me and dropped it off. Some curbside recycling picks up scrap metal but you have to check with your recycling company. Clothes I either donated or sold them. Home decor I also just donated. I took the electronic devices to Best Buy as they have an e-waste recycling program, so that was super easy.
Then there were the sex toys. My first instinct was to take them to Best Buy, too as they are electronic. Then I googled how to recycle vibrators and got several different answers. The obvious one, don’t throw them into the trash as they will end up in a landfill. Some e-waste facilities might take them but that’s not a given apparently.
After further research I found Come As You Are who recycles your sex toys for you. You can ship your stuff to them and they take it from there. Unfortunately they are in Canada and don't seem to offer that service outside of it. I also found Lovehoney in the UK with a sex toys recycling program, which is useless if you live in the US, and one in Portland, but they are either out of business or have bad customer service as they haven't returned my email regarding a missing form on their website you have to fill out. So back to square one.
Then I just decided to contact the manufacturer and ask them what to do about it and if they have a recycling program. They told me to just dispose it at an electronic recycle site. Well I guess I am going back to Best Buy, luckily wearing a mask when I hand over my toys so my blushing won't be so obvious. 😉
This whole thing now got me thinking about what’s next in the sexy toys department and I started consciously looking into eco-friendly, non-plastic options, not only for the pollution aspect but also in regards to health. One concern are phthalates.
What are Phthalates?
The FDA description: "Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations."
And you guessed it, they have been also used in sex toys, especially those listed as “jelly plastic” or “jelly rubber”.
The NRDC writes that researchers have found that even low levels of exposure to certain phthalates can lead to hormonal disruption and reproductive harm, as well as lasting damage in children’s brain development. Some of the most harmful phthalate chemicals were found in kids’ plastic toys and other children’s products, like pacifiers and teething rings. A federal court is maintaining a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ban that keeps some of the phthalate chemicals out of these kid's products. How about banning them all together in all sorts of toys, kids and for adults?
In California we have started to ban some in cosmetics on Sept. 30, 2020 by Gov. Newsom, who signed a legislation that bans the use of 24 chemicals in cosmetics starting in 2025. Many of the substances are prohibited from cosmetics in the European Union and the California legislature says it aims to continue banning cosmetic ingredients that the EU proscribes. The substances include formaldehyde, several PFAS, mercury, two parabens, and two phthalates.
Eco-friendly & Body-safe Sexy Toys
That being said you want to look for phthalate-free sexy toys and one of your best bets is a high-quality medical-grade 100% silicone product. The latter is important because it’s the only type of silicone that is deemed safe to use inside the human body. Just the word “silicone” on the label or packaging is not enough. Low-grade silicone usually contains chemical additives. You don’t want those in your body. So again make sure it says medical-grade, or is at least made of food-grade silicone. Goop has great high quality options. They carry Smile Makers, which are known for body-safe, vegan and cruelty free products.
I also found in my research that LELO makes sex toys that are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and phthalate-free.
There are other eco-friendly options such as crystal glass, stainless steel and wood. To dive deeper into the subject and more options check out this Style Caster article Eco-Friendly Sex Toys Exist, & We’re Shopping Them with the witty opening line: "Nothing kills a boner like our planet’s pollution problem." Or if you live in UK, this Marie Claire article Best eco-friendly sex toys: 10 to buy to make your sex life sustainable .
Also Sustain Condoms are apparently one of the most sustainable options in the market. They are free from gluten-, nitrosamine-, paraben-, animal by-products and synthetic-fragrances as well as made of Fair Trade latex.
Happy Sexy Time! 😉