Rub one out in the name of Mother Earth with an eco-friendly dildo
There are pleasures that only well-designed sex toys can grant: shape, weight, strength and texture all factor into the unique sensations they provide. For a long time their novelty origins meant the products were (and often still are) rife with sketchy plastics and jellies. But it’s an industry continually evolving to suit different needs and priorities, from those who see the potential in such objects as erotic sculpture to their recent mainstreaming and positioning as health and wellness products.
Some brands and artisans are re-thinking sex toys to address our contemporary concerns: Is this toy body-safe? Will I feel good about buying it and having it as an object in my home? What is its impact on the environment?
Trying to live sustainably brings up a range of concerns on different levels, from ethical materials sourcing and the energy consumption involved in production to the carbon footprint of shipping. Some people are comfortable simply adopting greener strategies in their daily lives, others believe there is no way to be truly eco-friendly as a consumer, and still others argue that conscious consumption is a quaint aside to the larger goal of political mobilization around climate change. The average personal approach likely resembles a fluctuating, anxious Venn diagram of the three.
As it stands, the city of Toronto does not recycle sex toys. Plug the words into the Waste Wizard and you’ll find that sex toys of any material go in the garbage and batteries should be disposed of as Household Hazardous Waste. There are a few initiatives around that do: UK retailer LoveHoney’s Rabbit Amnesty program allows you to send them old vibrators for recycling (vibes only though, and wash it thoroughly before you put it in the mail, FFS!). In Toronto, Come as You Are’s recycling program is currently on hiatus, though it should be back in a few months.
If you’re into sex and it’s your goal to be a more responsible shopper, think about investing in high-quality intimate objects that will last a long time rather than cycling through cheaper, disposable ones. Here are some to consider.
Toronto-born, Hamilton-based artist Lauren Goodman specializes in fine woodworking. Amid her angular furniture designs are elegant dildos hand-carved from wood offcuts and sealed with natural finishes. She’s currently completing a collection of pieces made from a century-old church pew, expected to launch in May.
This NYC online boutique recently added handblown glass sex toys to their range of eco-friendly luxury lifestyle goods, and they look like minimalist sculptures. Glass is a durable, recyclable, body-safe material, and these are made in the U.S. in small runs.
Glassmakers Work It Hot developed this sex toy line at its Niagara Falls studio, where emphasis is placed on recycling old glass, energy efficiency and creating as little waste as possible. The forms alternate fluidly from sinuous to bulbous, and are non-porous, easy to clean and perfect for temperature play. Work It Hot also does custom and made-to-order pieces in a rainbow of colours.
New York’s Chakrubs is well known for their collection of artisanal quartz crystal dildos. New to the line are hand-carved wood toys glazed with Lubrosity, an eco-friendly finish that ensures each piece is silky-smooth, odourless, non-porous, hypoallergenic, body-safe and compatible with all known lubricants. A selection can be found at Montreal’s Nox Shop.
Eva Cincar and Luana Giusti’s hand-painted ceramic sex toys are made by artisans in Tuscany, a region famous for ceramic craft since the medieval period. Their colourful, fun pieces are finished with a non-toxic, food-grade glaze. A selection can be found at Kindred Black.
Porcelain sculptor Adele Brydges advocates for slow production, focused on sustainability and conscious sourcing. Her made-to-order pleasure tools are hypoallergenic and durable, and can be used with any lubricant or natural oil. Each piece is vitrified during the final firing cycle to increase their strength and make them impermeable and immersible in water.
On a less permanent and precious tip, Blush’s Gaia Eco line debuted a couple of years ago as the world’s first biodegradable vibrators. Made of a phthalate-free cornstarch bioplastic compound, these classic vibes have been strongly reviewed overall. They are also very well priced and are recommended as a great starter vibe. Available at the Nookie (827 College) and Come as You Are.