Having a varied range of sex toys is a surefire way to diversify your opportunities for pleasure, and naturally, we encourage having a collection of toys to suit each and every mood… or day of the week.
But there may come a time when you want to do a little spring-cleaning and get rid of certain items that no longer spark as much ‘joy’ (to quote de-cluttering guru-turned-verb Marie Kondo).
But if you want to make space in your sex toy collection for newer models, how should you dispose of the old stuff? It seems wrong to throw toys straight in the bin, when its possibilities for pleasure may be long gone for you, but could provide benefits for someone else. And while silicone – the material many toys are made from – takes 500 years to biodegrade, it’s widely recyclable. But how can you recycle sex toys, and where? Or is there a way to sell them secondhand and make a bit of money along the way?
We’ve got your list of options covered in the list below. However you decide to be all ‘out with the old’, why not treat yourself to an all-new toy (that you can recycle or resell in years to come)?
SEND TO A SEX TOY RETAILER
While this isn’t an industry-wide standard yet, there are a handful of sex toy retailers who’ll recycle sex toys for you, pretty much free of charge.
UK customers can package up old toys and send them to Lovehoney, whose Rabbit Amnesty program recycles your formerly-loved toys free of charge (although you’ll have to cover the postage fee). While you can no longer accrue loyalty points through the service, it’s a good way to clear your cupboards ethically. The company will only accept vibrating toys and the postage fee is a small price to pay when you consider the alternative – your old toys spending the next 500 years on landfill.
Come As You Are is a Canada-based sex toy company that’s been offering a recycling service since 2014. Despite the fact that it’s costly and “actively loses money” for the company, worker-owner Jack Lamon told sextech.co.uk: “We have always attempted to balance being purveyors of pleasure with environmental responsibility, and even though sex toys are much more environmentally-friendly now than they were when our co-op was founded in 1997, there’s never been a way to dispose of sex toys safely.
“As an anti-capitalist, co-operative sex shop, we’ve always been uneasy with the negative impacts sexual pleasure consumerism has had on the environment. Although recycling is expensive and labour-intensive, we feel ethically compelled to offer this service to Canadians,” they said.
The Canadian retailer currently accepts silicone and ABS plastic sex toys, and it recycles electronic parts and batteries too.
BRING TO A RECYCYLING CENTER
You may be able to recycle toys yourself at your local recycling centre, but you might have to do a bit of homework first. It’ll be different from place to place, (in the UK, your old toys will fall under Waste Electrical or Electronic Equipment – abbreviated to WEEE – for example, which will usually have its own section at local recycling centres).
Pretty much any vibrating toy will fall under the electrical waste category. To help you get started on your eco-research, this website might help if you’re in the UK, and resource page should help US customers.
SELL THEM YOURSELF
Recycling isn’t the only way to sustainably dispose of your pre-loved products; you could always sell your secondhand toys online. While some people might wince at the idea of this at first, once properly sterilised and thoroughly cleaned, the toys are pretty much good as new.
Another option to be extra safe is to apply condoms to old toys. There’s definitely a market for it, too, check out the subreddit r/usedsextoys to see how people market their old collections, or you could even sell directly via a Twitter page or your own website.
Top tip: If you’re using PayPal for transactions, always make payments through the ‘goods and services’ route – using ‘friends and family’ means you can’t get your money back if you get scammed.
THROW A RE-GIFT PARTY
Why not get some friends together for a sex toy swap party? It’s both good for the planet and your wallet. While you’re there, why not tell your mates about our VIP membership? Included in the subscription price is your own choice of welcome gift (worth up to £44.99), free next-day delivery, member-only deals and exclusive discounts.
It goes without saying that however you decide to recycle, reuse or dispose of your sex toys, the most important thing is to make sure you clean them thoroughly first.