A Guide to Sex Toys That Don't Totally Ruin the Planet

I put the best eco-friendly sex toys to the test, from solar-powered vibrators and low-airmile wands to, erm, a giant wooden dildo.
The author (left) and a collection of eco-friendly sex toys. All photos by Chelsea White. 

Update on 27/5/21: This article has been updated with new toys and photographs.

There is nothing like ecological breakdown to kill a boner. Famine, flooding, wildfire and drought are just a selection of the delights that await us if global warming is not kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius. As I’m sure David Attenborough would agree, fucking will also become a challenge once we’re fleeing drowned and scorched cities, without a single honey bee to save us. Not to mention that, in cases where said shagging leads to a newborn, you're automatically responsible for almost 60 extra tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. So, the best thing might be… fucking yourself.


Unfortunately, by 2016, the world was producing 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste, only 20 percent of which was recycled through appropriate channels. In addition, toys made with plastic are produced from petroleum and have a recycling path thwarted with difficulty. Sex toys made out of jelly rubber, meanwhile, often contain phthalates, which have been found to have a toxic impact on aquatic environments, causing long-term adverse effects on the ecosystem.

Then there are the batteries. Using packet after packet of disposable AAAs so you can rock your socks off thinking about that Fleabag “kneel” scene might not be the wisest decision for the planet. In July 2019, a life-sized elephant made of 30,000 used batteries popped up in a London zoo to represent the number of tonnes that end up in landfill each year, due to the UK’s poor battery recycling efforts.

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And the top reason why sex toys aren’t great for the environment? You can’t exactly get them second hand. They all have to be created, packaged and transported from scratch.


Needless to say, the most ethical sex toys are attached to us, and are commonly referred to as ‘hands.’ But they do not suit everyone. Developing a strong hand masturbation technique can take years, and overusing vibrators (I’d definitely never do that lol) can make it hard to go back to the most trusted sex aide of all: ourselves. And those about to slide into my DMs saying, “Go to the vegetable aisle,” yes, I did look into this. But apparently you have to put a condom over a courgette before you stick it up your fanny, which seems like a waste of a single-use condom, and a perfectly good vegetable.

So, drenched in climate anxiety but also a little horny, I dove deep into sustainable masturbation, finding some of the best eco-friendly sex toys out there. After stringent testing, I awarded each toy a green eggplant emoji rating out of five, taking into account both eco-friendliness and orgasm efficiency.


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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. 

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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.


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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 aluminium 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. 

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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.

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Closed Loop Dildo

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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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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.

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Vegan Fetish Gear

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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.

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The handcuffs are a cool green alternative to starter sets you might find on major sex toy retailer websites, but the material is very 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.


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The Vitality vibrator, made by eco-friendly sex toy company Leaf+.

The Leaf+ won the 2015 ‘Best Eco-Friendly Sex Toy’ title at the Sex Expo awards in Los Angeles. The company offers a range of rechargeable, silicone, handheld vibrators inspired by nature’s own shapes, which is how I ended up spending my Sunday masturbating with a toy that looked like an Oddish Pokemon.

The Leaf+ Vitality vibrator was pretty powerful for a little thing, and featured a motor in both ‘leaves’ for internal and external buzz. It was also fun to be using something that didn’t look like a dick.

But beyond the nature-inspired mould, the recycled paper packaging (the outside of which, and everything inside it, was wrapped in plastic), and a slightly longer run time, I could see little difference between the Vitality+ vibrator and the toy I usually keep under my pillow – the super-powerful FemmeFun Diamond wand, which is also rechargeable and made of silicone. Lelo, WeVibe and countless other sex toy brands also produce silicone, rechargeable sex toys. Unfortunately, though the Leaf+ Vitality was a good vibrator, it did seem to be cashing in by ‘greenwashing’, that is, claiming to be an eco-friendly alternative while doing nothing particularly out of the ordinary against their competitors. So: good, but probably not too different to something you’ve already got, if you take your masturbation practice seriously.


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The NobEssence Intrigue dildo, made from hand-sculpted wood.

The wooden sex toys I tried came from a company called, rather unfortunately, NobEssence, who use non-endangered hardwoods to make their products. They’re hand-sculpted, biodegradable, compostable, organic, renewable, and coated in a biocompatible (?), hypoallergenic vegan seal to prevent splinters or roughness, and make them totally safe to wash with warm water and toy cleaner. I’m exhausted.

I tried two models, the ‘Romp’ butt plug, and the ‘Intrigue’ dildo. To be completely honest with you, reader, I’ve not put many things in my bum over the years. But I’m so delighted that the Romp – something that looks like it came from a primary school percussion cupboard – was one of the first. Like a real A* dick, the wood was smooth and beautifully sculpted. Unlike a real A* dick, it was much easier to insert and remove.

The Intrigue was another pleasant surprise. I’m generally quite sceptical of toys and dildos with no vibration or electronic element. I mean, that’s a lot of multitasking if you’re going to fuck yourself with a fake knob and rub your clit at the same time. But the beauty of the Intrigue is that its curved shape includes the perfect little bump to roll against all the important parts, while still having a fun insertable. It would take a while, but you could definitely make yourself cum from this. Unfortunately, I still had plenty of masturbating to do and little time to get it done, so on to the next.


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The Bondara Cupid's Arrow Dildo.

Glass is a wonderful sex toy material because it’s fully recyclable and simple to process, which is what drew me to the ‘Cupid’s Arrow Dildo’ from Bondara. A lot of people are understandably squeamish about sticking glass where the sun don’t shine. But in reality, reputable glass dildos are solid, virtually unbreakable and ridiculously easy to clean. They will not shatter up there. They’re also quite lush to look at, and there’s nothing like a pale pink heart poking out the end of your pussy or bumhole to make you feel like a fairy princess.

Unfortunately, simple penetration in either end isn’t a huge turn-on for me, and a glass dildo is all about manual labour. Plus, there’s nothing to stimulate your clit, and they’re quite heavy for rapid in-out motion. But if it’s a choice between this and a ‘realistic’ seven-inch veined motherfucker made of PVC, well, it’s not a very difficult decision IMO. However, the Cupid's Arrow Dildo doesn’t work brilliantly in isolation, and is more like a sweet accessory than an “OH MY GOD” stimulator.

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The Solar Bullet (bottom right).

Ever been on a camping trip, felt horny in the middle of the wood, and wanted to go at it with yourself right then and there? But, oh no! The batteries in your vibrator are gone and there’s no mains plug in the Forest of Dean! Sounds like you need one of these bad boys: the Solar Bullet, a solar-powered vibrator that only requires eight hours of sunlight to charge.


The bullet, which looks like a silver laser pen and even has an LED light on the end, is attached by a power chord to a black solar panel square, which kind of just has to chill by your side while you go to town with the toy, and has a function to change vibration strength. Amazingly, the bullet can reach a pretty powerful speed with a full battery.

Unfortunately, it is also very loud for its size, and the plastic-y rattle of the machine is not particularly sexy. There’s also a line break on the outside plating that looks like it could trap bacteria pretty easily. The toy can’t be immersed in water either, which could make cleaning a little tricky if you don’t want to use wet wipes (which are terrible for the environment, btw). I don’t even want to talk about how weird it is to have a light on the end of the bullet you’re putting on your clit, as if you’re about to be attacked with a speculum in a doctor’s office.

That said, this is a really fun novelty sex toy, and one I could imagine giving to my eco-warrior friends on a hen do. It’s also important not to downplay the impact of having a product that gets us talking about solar energy and its potential. When you can see the power of one tiny square panel buzzing away in your hand, it’s easy to be convinced that we should be putting them up everywhere.


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Occasionally, you meet someone so beautiful that you immediately lose interest in everyone else. You envisage a future all within the first five minutes of meeting them and think, “You will ruin my life.” So I felt upon first meeting the Doxy Die Cast, a magic wand vibrator 30 percent more powerful than the popular Hitachi Magic Wand. For the record, I’m fully in love. I’m ready to drop onto one knee. I’m considering referring to to it as "this one" in an Insta caption. Of course, I may simply be biased because, to quote my housemate who has had to listen to an ungodly level of buzz all weekend, “that thing could give a corpse an orgasm.”

But why is the Doxy Die Cast included in this list of eco-friendly sex toys? The Doxy factory is based in Cornwall, so sending within the UK means low airmilage. Maybe the draining yuppies on Broadway Market are onto something – it’s never been hotter to shop local.

The materials are also in its favour for eco-friendly-ness. The aluminium/titanium alloy body poses a low risk to the environment in terms of toxicity, and will be easy to recycle for parts when it comes to the end of its life. Likewise, the silicone head is body safe, non-porous, easy to clean and safer for the environment than plastic or rubber alternatives. As a mains-operated toy there’s no battery to charge, or dispose of, or run down. Crucially, this product is so powerful, and makes me cum so hard and fast, that I can easily deal with my horniness and move onto the next green living task at hand, whether that be prepping vegan meals in a metal tiffin box or booking trains across Europe now that flying is cancelled.

Like the solar bullet though, this isn’t a toy you can bring into the shower or submerge in a bathtub to clean – you’ll need a soft cloth with toy cleaner or disinfectant spray. It’s also very heavy, so holding it for too long could be a challenge. But given how effective this thing is at making you feel like your entire life of crap sex just flashed before your eyes when you orgasm after about 30 seconds, there’s little danger of a wrist cramp.

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There’s no way around this: condoms are a single-use item that takes a long time to decompose. But using them for safe sex is essential. If you want eco-friendly condoms, it’s important to look for brands that are vegan (free of casein, an animal byproduct), ethically made and come from fairtrade latex. There are a few options out there – Sustain, Fair Squared, Hanx and Glyde all make sustainable condoms. There’s also Releaf, a vegan condom company that plants a tree with every condom sold. Just think: you could plant a whole forest with your post-lockdown horny free-for-all.



There are a number of ways to make your orgasms less passionate red, and more XR green. The most important things to remember are to go after sustainable and body-safe materials like silicone, bioplastic, wood and glass; opt for rechargeable toys (or solar-powered ones!); and dear god, recycle them properly when you’re done, through schemes like the Lovehoney Rabbit Amnesty or on the Ann Summers website. Or, you know, use your hands.

@iamhelenthomas / @chelzzz__