Going Green: How Sustainable Sex Toys Are Making a Movement
As consumers become more aware of the growing issue of sex tech waste, is there a market for eco-friendly toys?
Sex tech’s dirty secret
I’ve been writing about sex tech long enough to know there is a dirty industry secret we don’t like to discuss – sex toy waste. The issue is huge as many sex toys are made from plastics, use batteries, and are heavily packaged.
However, conscious consumption can make a difference. As consumers became aware of toxic materials in sex toys, companies overhauled their materials to make them more body-safe.
Could the same be done for a revolution in eco-friendly tech?
The ‘natural’ sexual revolution
The Natural Love Company thinks so as they have made their mission with sex toys to work towards being carbon neutral, recycling schemes, and compostable bottles of organic lubricant.
They also revealed a 400% growth in sales from eco-conscious adults looking for a sustainable good time.
“There is limited research on the scale of the problem of sex toy waste, but it is clear it’s a growing concern.” Ben Foster, the co-founder of the company, said.
“Most [sex] toys are made from a combination of materials including plastic, silicone, rubber, metal, and glass. Many materials are not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down. Batteries or electronic components in some [sex] toys contain hazardous materials that pose a risk to the environment if not disposed of properly. There is the issue of the disposal of packaging materials associated with sex toys, including plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes, and styrofoam inserts.”
There are many ways manufacturers can go greener. Ben highlighted that sex-pert designers need to switch to eco-friendly materials from the start and source ethical raw materials.
“Materials like recycled ocean plastics and sustainably sourced latex are particularly good choices. Companies should think about how they can reduce waste and energy use during production. As a business, we only use plastic-free packaging, and all of our packaging is sourced from recycled materials,” he said.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of some of these developments, and we are due to launch our first range of products that are made entirely from ocean-bound plastics. We will be refreshing our entire collection so that every [sex] toy is made from these recycled plastics. We also have a new range of bondage products which will be created with sustainable cork tree bark as opposed to leather.”
From ocean waste to body-safe sex toys
Ohhcean is another company making waves by switching to recycled ocean plastics to make their toys. Co-founder Mathilde Mackowski has a history in the sex tech industry, and when it came to getting creative and sustainable, she thought – why not?
“Being in an industry that has the potential to play a small part in helping clean up the oceans is amazing. Ohhceans is a tribute to fun and playfulness with the possibility of making a change. It’s a small step but a great beginning,” she said.
It’s not as small a step as you may think to create body-safe sex toys from ocean plastic.
“It’s been a long journey over three years as the process has been a lot more complicated compared to our normal. We spent time finding the best collaborators possible, which fortunately we found in #tide (a leading player that upcycles and recycles ocean-bound plastic), then we learned about the material,” she said.
“The ocean-bound plastic that is collected in and around the ocean reacts differently than virgin plastic when melted and put into molds. It took a lot more testing and time to find the perfect fit and to learn how the material reacted. It wasn’t an easy process, and we were tested on our patience. But that also makes it feel so good to finally have made it here.”
Mathilde is enthusiastic about the products and believes customers will be just as excited to learn how they can consciously make a difference by shopping with awareness.
“We have launched this first collection, starting with three products so we could learn about people’s interest in this genre. We see change starting to happen in so many industries, and it’s so exciting. The steps might be small in the beginning, but we have started, and it’s only going forward from here,” she said.