A guide to eco-friendly sex toys

As the sex industry strives to meet consumer demands for more sustainable living, we round up the best eco-friendly alternatives for a greener sex life.

Even simply thinking about climate change is enough to kill the mood. But the harsh reality? Your favourite sex toy most likely isn’t sustainable either. Unfortunately, not only do they require batteries which, of course, end up in landfills, but they’re almost always made from rubber or plastic, leaving a very toxic carbon footprint that isn’t sexy at all.

Although the pleasure product industry generates a whopping $15 billion a year, it actually remains inherently unregulated, with limited standards to guide which materials are used, their overall quality of design, and, most significantly, their impact on the environment.

By way of example, phthalates (a class of compounds used to increase durability and flexibility) have been banned in beauty products for causing long-term adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems – but they’re still used in a broad range of toys. And, to make matters worse, by 2016, the world was producing a staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste, only 20% of which was recycled.

Essentially, there’s a lot more to consider than just the ‘turn-on factor’ when choosing which sex toy to invest in. You can’t exactly get them second hand now can you? And they all have to be manufactured, packaged, and transported from scratch. So, how on earth (pun intended) do we look out for our planet when getting it on? ‘Eco-Friendly sex means different things to different people,’ says sex expert Jess O’Reilly. ‘For some folks, being eco-friendly means choosing props, toys, lubes and condoms that minimize their impact on the planet. For others, eco-friendly sex involves minimizing harm in production — harm to the environment and to the workers.’

If you think about it, we already pay close attention to the chemicals in our foods and cosmetics. Why not, therefore, use similar care when selecting what to introduce to the bedroom? Luckily, from toys, to lube, to condoms, a large variety of natural and eco-friendly options have begun to pop up in recent years to help us achieve sexual satisfaction without wreaking havoc on the environment.

Without further ado, here are our top five.

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Kindred Black

While silicone is the go-to material used in sex toys, there exists a plethora of great alternatives. Glass might not sound that appealing, but people swear by the physical pressure it provides and unique smooth sensation that’s unlike any other toys on the market. The best part? It’s totally recyclable and simple to process. From sleek and simple to fun and bumpy, check out Kindred Black, who manufactures a line of glass dildos in an assortment of textures, shapes, and sizes that’ll stand up to about as much wear and tear as you can physically give them – so they won’t end up in the bin.

Glyde

Finding eco-friendly condoms is an arduous process. Almost all of them are made from latex or a latex derivative which obviously takes an extensive amount of time to degrade. Amongst the few companies going that extra mile to ensure their manufacturing processes are sustainable, Glyde touts itself as the ‘first certified ethical, vegan, and fair-trade premium condom brand.’ Made from non-GMO natural rubber sourced from worker-owned-and-operated producers with fair-trade and labour practices, the condoms are also vegan and FDA-approved. It’s a win-win really.

STYLECASETR | Eco-Friendly Sex Toys Exist, and We're Shopping Them

Solar Bullet

Eight hours of exposure to the sun provides one hour of bliss for this tiny-but-mighty toy. With the appearance of a silver laser pen, the bullet is attached by a power chord to a black solar panel square, which also offers options to change vibration strength. Here comes the sun, am I right?

Sliquid

‘Their robust line features an array of water, silicone, and oil-based options, none of which contain potentially irritating ingredients such as glycerin or parabens,’ says sex-toy reviewer Epiphora. Using some of the fewest ingredients and one of the safest preservatives out there, Sliquid have created a water-based H2O lube that’s completely nontoxic and nonporous. It’s also cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and works just as well with latex, rubber, and plastic. ‘I love the simple, no-frills formula,’ she adds.

theNotice - Leaf Life vibrator review, photos | What to ask for ...

Leaf+

Winners of the ‘Best Eco-Friendly Sex Toy’ title at the Sex Expo awards in 2015, Leaf+ offers a wide range of rechargeable, silicone, handheld vibrators inspired by the ‘shapes of nature.’ ‘I like that they look natural and feminine… like leaves and flowers,’ says Alicia Silverstone. ‘Plus, they’re made from phthalate-free, super-soft (and safe) silicone. And they use rechargeable batteries. And they’re shipped to you in packaging that’s not only discreet but made from recycled materials.’

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