Photo: Author's Own
One of the few items you can’t pick up second hand, dildos have historically struggled to fit into the ‘reuse and repair’ model for sustainability. However, the market for sustainable sex toys is a rapidly growing one.Two years ago I put the best eco-friendly sex toys to the test – including, but not limited to, a solar powered bullet vibrator and one that looked like a leaf. However, things have already come a long way since then. You can now get biodegradable sex toys, vibrators made out of recycled materials, and even a carbon neutral rabbit that plants trees. So, with a recent report released by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last week spelling “code red for humanity”, it felt like time for a follow up.
This story originally appeared on VICE in October 2021.
Get your hands and wallets at the ready for the next generation of eco-friendly sex toys.
THE BIODEGRADABLE CLITORAL STIMULATOR
Clit stims are the very much the “new kid” of sex toys. They look scary, like what people in the 80s thought 21st century phones would be like, or those influencer face cleansing brushes. Being the new kid also makes them very open to adaptation and innovation to fit their millennial market of open-minded hornies with vulvas. Enter Womanizer, one of the most popular clit stim brands, which has brought to market a fully biodegradable and recyclable model made of biolene, a biodegradable bioplastic. The PREMIUM Eco also comes with a fully replaceable and rechargeable battery that encourages you to fix and extend the lifespan of the product where most modern tech is designed to be fully replaced upon breaking. In terms of its effectiveness, I will say that this gave me a really great orgasm and made me arch my back and levitate and all that. I really have no complaints. The only downside is that the eco-friendly material means it’s only splash-proof, so you can’t take it in the bath or shower and you have to be careful while cleaning.Green Eggplant Emoji Rating:
TREE PLANTING RABBIT
Sometimes what you really need is a classic. Ann Summers have been the hitherto queens of the British rabbit vibrator scene, but the Natural Love Company’s SARO is a very worthy rival. Made with body-safe silicone and fully rechargeable with nine different vibration settings, it’s almost identical to higher-end brands like Lelo at a more affordable price point, with the bonus of coming from a carbon-neutral small business that plants trees with every unit sold.
Packaging is fully recyclable and, honestly, this was one of the most beautifully wrapped sex toys I’ve ever seen. I was half expecting the box to contain a handmade soy wax candle when I opened it. The Natural Love Company do lots of other sustainable sex toys too, including cock rings.
This unit is extremely powerful and highly distracting now my “office” is within three feet of my bed. Bear in mind, though, that the model is curved – ideal for hitting your g-spot – and its head is quite bulky and round. You’ll want to make sure you’re ready and opened up before attempting to insert it, and remember to apply plenty of water-based lube because you can’t use silicone-based lube with silicone toys like this one. Something else to bear in mind is that… it’s black. So I recommend you clean it straight after use before it dries. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.Green Eggplant Emoji Rating:
RECYCLED ALUMINIUM VIBRATOR
For a slimline bullet that looks like a vape pen, the Meile model from ‘Love Not War’ by Lovehoney is truly one of the best I’ve ever tried. It’s part of a line of rechargeable waterproof vibrators with recycled aluminum bodies and silicone heads, and it really looks like something you’d throw in your handbag before heading to a hookup or keep (cleaned!!!) under your pillow. The ball tip is a tiny but concentrated magic wand, and the other great thing about this is it’s small and light enough to play with on your clit while still having sex, unlike other bulkier toys. I lost a weekend to this one.
From a sustainability standpoint, one thing that could elevate the line even more is allowing you to buy the body and heads separately (right now, they twist apart for charging). It would make the parts replaceable if it ever breaks, and means you could have even more options without having to buy a whole new unit.Green Eggplant Emoji Rating:
CLOSED LOOP DILDO
Melba Toys is a fledgling sex toy company hoping to start “closed-loop” dildo production with made-to-order specs and customisable features, which means less waste and more satisfied wankers. All prototype materials are either bio-based or recycled, and the dildos are made of 100 percent body-safe recyclable silicone. The added pigments are also vegan and ethically sourced, and the product packaging is recyclable with soy-ink stickers and acid-free paper. I was sent a prototype tentacle dildo from a novelty line currently in development. Insertables aren’t hugely my thing, but I have to say this is one of the prettiest dildos I have ever seen – a blend of dark turquoise and milky sky blue. The curved shape and pointed tip was also a nice novelty for me, with the sucker ridges definitely providing a pretty exciting sensation you don’t get with traditional smooth dildos. Once I’d demoed this, I made a new home for it on my bookshelf, because it is truly a beautiful piece of silicone art.
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BIODEGRADABLE BATTERY-OPERATED VIBRATOR
Though the general advice on sustainable sex toys is to limit waste by opting for rechargeables rather than battery-operated ones, they do cost more and I appreciate that’s not an option for everyone. This 7” battery operated vibrator from Natural Pleasures (which I got through the Lore of Change, an ethical sexuality company) will biodegrade once disposed of and is under £30. There’s a 5” bullet model for those who prefer something smaller – just remember to take the batteries to any supermarket battery recycling bin.This toy is great for its price and a rotating speed dial lets you work up to a very powerful buzz. The body is made of a really soft body-safe and latex-free bioplastic. One thing, though – I found it to be quite noisy, especially on the higher settings, so bear that in mind if you have flatmates and thin walls. Gaia, another biodegradable battery operated toy, is a very similar product also made of bioplastic, available in a range of bright pastels. It’s even more affordable at under £15, so a great entry level eco-vibe. However, when I tested each vibrator on a different one of my housemate’s nipples, they voted for Natural Pleasures’ as their favourite.
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BIODEGRADABLE KEGEL BALLS
Natural Pleasures also do some neat biodegradable kegel balls for pussy training, if that’s your thing. I don’t use other kegel balls so I had nothing to compare them with, but they’re made of the same soft material as the vibrator and have a nice weight to them, without being too clacky or noisy. There’s a flap under the ball strap (lol) so just make sure that’s cleaned thoroughly after using.Green Eggplant Emoji Rating:
VEGAN FETISH GEAR
The demand for cruelty-free Doc Martens and handbags has now trickled down to BDSM gear. Leather is definitely a kinky garment that is difficult to replicate, but if you’re looking for a vegan alternative, Vegan Fetish (also available on the Lore of Change) has a line of items made from polyurethane, a more sustainable alternative to PVC.
The handcuffs are a cool green alternative to starter sets you might find on major sex toy retailer websites, but the material feels quite artificially smooth and the attachment is velcro, which might not satisfy hardcore bondage fetishists. The spank paddle has a really nice design and is long and thin, rather than a square tawse or paddle. For science, I tested it against my existing real leather paddle, smacking each wrist individually to see which stung the most. The real leather was notably more powerful, so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re a diehard masochist. But if you’re just after a little playful slap and tickle, or you have someone on hand who can administer with more force, it’s great. And if you prefer something more bespoke, there are a ton of independent sellers flogging (sorry) vegan BDSM wares on Etsy.Green Eggplant Emoji Rating:
This story originally appeared on VICE in October 2021.