You can recycle so much of your household waste these days, but can you recycle your sex toys? The good news is that you may be able to recycle your sex toys, if you live somewhere that accepts electronic waste (sometimes known as 'E-waste') to recycle.
As our technology gets more advanced, and cheaper, the issue of electronics recycling becomes more pressing. Buried inside old gadgets – like sex toys – are often valuable metals which can be stripped and reused. But gadgets which contain chargeable batteries and other electronics can also be dangerous to disassemble if you aren’t an expert, so you often need to send them to special recycling centers to ensure they are disposed of safely.
In the UK, any sex toys which vibrate (or oscillate!) will fall under the category of 'electrical items' – so all of our sex toys should be treated in the same way as other electrical waste. Think kettles, toasters, cameras – anything which comes with a plug or a charger.
Under EU law, small electronics such as these must comply with WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) rules, meaning they should be suitable for dismantling and recycling at specially certified recycling centers. All of our sex toys comply with these rules, of course, so all you need to do is locate a recycling facility that is happy to handle WEEE waste.
Many local councils will have these facilities as part of the service they offer to residents, so it’s worth checking on your local council website to see if you are able to recycle sex toys through them, in the same way as you’d recycle any other small electronics. For example, Hackney Council in London has a map showing where you can drop off your small electronic items, so the valuable metals inside them can be extracted and reused.
If your local council doesn’t have any information on this, a quick search on the Recycle Now website to find your nearest drop-off point for electronic waste. Alternatively, large retailers like Lovehoney will often recycle your old electronic sex toys for you.
In the US, provisions for recycling e-waste will vary from state to state. However, you can find information about states which have provisions for recycling e-waste on the EPA website, which also gives lots of helpful guidance on what can and can’t be recycled.
There’s also online maps where you can check on recycling centers state-by-state. It’s also worth contacting the folks behind the Recycle Your Sex Toy, as they say they should be able to take your old sex toys, recycle the important bits, and give you money off other sex toys in future. We haven’t tested this ourselves though, and the website looks a little old, so we can’t guarantee it.
In Australia, there isn’t a national programme for recycling sex toys, but the Recycling Near You website gives information on how you can find a nearby e-waste recycling point.
In South Australia, the Unplug N Drop programme allows you to dispose of your electrical waste at various locations across the country. Although few e-waste recycling programmes ever specify sex toys as an allowable item (and if you’re reading, recycling companies, please could you include them where possible? Sex toy owners want to save the planet too!), they do say they will take anything that is domestic, plugs into a power point, uses a charger or is powered by a battery. All of our sex toys fall under that category, so just check out the map to see where you can recycle your sex toys.
OK, so selling used sex toys might sound a bit much for you, but if there’s a toy you’re no longer using – as long as it’s made from body-safe material that you can clean thoroughly – there are options for selling it on. Either to friends who’d like to try something new, or on forums like Reddit’s /usedsextoys. Just make sure you know how to clean your sex toys thoroughly first.