Reduce, Reuse, Recycle That….Dildo?

Interview by Guest-blogger Chris Baskind (really bad puns are mine however)

All too often here on Eco Chick, we cover a small way to ‘green’ your life, something like using energy efficient bulbs, perhaps, or taking bags to the store instead of using plastic ones. Invariably, people write in that small stuff like that doesn’t really matter, that we’re all going to hell in a polluted handbasket, and sitting around writing about this stuff, or even doing it, is not going to end up helping at all. To those people I say: Check out this video of the dildos received through ‘Rabbit Amnesty’, which is a sex-toy recycling program run by British sex-toy purveyor LoveHoney:

Once you see them altogether like that you realize, well, when a lot of people have a place to send their dildos for recycling, they will, and a whole ton of junk just got prevented from going to a landfill. Not so pointless anymore huh?

So … How do these things get recycled? How do you handle a retired
rabbit once it arrives?

We will collect the vibrators and pay for them to be recycled at a Designated Collection Facility (DCF). The vibrators will be stripped of components that can be reused – these would most likely be resold. Printed circuit boards, which many vibrators feature, contain hazardous metals such as lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury. It is the DCF’s responsibility to ensure that these are disposed of to the legal environmental standards. Specialist recyclers will normally recover these materials.

If any vibrators are returned in boxes, the cardboard will be sent to a specialist cardboard recycler for processing.

If vibrator owners want to return the product to a DCF themselves, they can
find their nearst one here (UK-only).

But of course we hope they’ll use Rabbit Amnesty!

Is this UK-only?

Unfortunately it wouldn’t be environmentally friendly for us to encourage people to fly their old vibrators over to the UK for recycling, but we hope that other sex toy retailers around the world will follow our lead.

How have the materials used in vibrators and sex toys changed over the past few

There is a general move away from sex toys that contain phthalates. We’ve covered it a lot on LoveHoney, explaining the issues and even showing customers some of our products being tested in the laboratory.

While customers shouldn’t believe some of the more lurid headlines they see, we believe that if better materials for sex toys are available, manufacturers should use them – and they are.

What else is getting “green” in the adult toys industry?

Personal lubricants are getting greener by the day. Sliquid is glycerine- and paraben-free, and ‘Yes’ lubes are even approved by The Soil Association, (Britain’s organic and sustainable farming nonprofit)

(For more on the ins and outs of organic and toxin-free lubes, check this and this. For the environmental effects of condoms, read this. To get the buzz on low-impact vibrators, read this.)

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.