We know Nikki Darling customers are concerned about the environment, and rightly so. Reducing the amount we use, and being mindful of how we dispose of products that have come to the end of their useful lifespan is great, but when it comes to sex toys and other intimate items, what exactly does that look like?
Are you familiar with ‘The R’s’? You know, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? You might wonder how this applies to sex toys - surely they just go in the bin when they break. Not so! And depending on where you live, they may not even be welcome in general household bins. So how can you apply the reduce-reuse-recycle model to your sex toy shopping?
Let’s break it down:
When it comes to reducing consumption of sex toys, we’ve come a long way. There are a number of toys that when looked after correctly, really will last a lifetime (and then some). This is especially true of non-mechanical toys (think dildos and plugs, for example) made from high-quality, durable materials like steel, glass, silicone and ABS plastics/acrylics. Rather than buying toys made from lower-grade materials (which are not only more likely to harm the planet, they are also more likely to harm your body), we recommend buying durable toys.
Whereas once silicone toys were almost exclusively high-end or artisan (aka expensive) and therefore less accessible to all, we are now seeing true silicone toys made available at a range of price points. And so with the increasing prevalence of affordable silicone toys and the wider variety of silicone density and texture, we believe there are decreasing reasons to buy jelly rubber or PVC toys (which will need to be replaced as they break down and leach harmful and hazardous waste into the environment).
Consumable items like lubricant and safer sex materials are of course a little different. This is where buying in bulk can help to reduce auxiliary impact - the less you need to reorder something, the better! It’ll mean less packaging materials are being used and less kilometres are being travelled by couriers. If you know you love a product and will keep using it, why not buy the larger size (and decant if you need smaller amounts for travel) or the bulk lot?
And look, we love an impulse purchase as much as the next person stuck inside the nightmare vortex of capitalism, but where possible, we encourage you to think carefully about your purchases, and to reach out and have a chat to help determine if a product is right for your wants and needs - especially when those products are non-returnable for health and safety reasons.
If you’ve made mindful sex toy purchases and stuck to durable materials, this should be straightforward - you just.. keep reusing the toy.
That is unless the toy has had a mechanical breakdown, of course.
A lot of people think they can’t return a faulty sex toy or are embarrassed to do so - but not all toy deaths are forever, and the first thing we should check is the connectors/springs/cables.
At Nikki Darling, all products are covered both by the manufacturer’s warranty and also by your statutory consumer rights. But even if this warranty period has long since past, we are more than happy to accept your returned item to see if we can get it working with a new charging cable.
For mechanical goods that are not coming back to life without a degree in electronics and a soldering iron, you still have options. An internal vibrator or vibrating plug can still be pleasurable to use without vibration, for example. And if you are particularly daring, perhaps you have yourself a new paperweight or festive ornament!
Okay. So your toy is definitely a goner and you want it gone. We hear that. But, much like other electronic goods, there needs to be some consideration of the safest way to dispose of your toy.
Unfortunately, in Australia, options for recycling in general are not good. There are no dedicated sex toy recycling facilities or schemes in Australia. It is therefore up to the consumer to assess the materials that comprise the sex toy (and packaging) and dispose of it accordingly.
In the state of Victoria, where Nikki Darling is based, recent state legislation prevents electronic waste (e-waste) from being sent to landfill - that means you aren’t supposed to chuck your vibrator in with the general household waste. You also aren’t supposed to put e-waste in the recycling bin - councils provide facilities for e-waste collection or drop-off, either free of charge or for a small fee.
We spoke with Sustainability Victoria to confirm that sex toys and other intimate electronic items were treated as e-waste with regards to this legislation. And yes, in Victoria your council has an obligation to treat it as e-waste. But regardless of where you live, you can always speak with your local council for guidance on where your nearest drop off point or transfer station is and which parts they'll accept.
Now, we understand that not everyone is going to feel comfortable taking their old vibrator down the local transfer station. Which is why we are offering to do it on your behalf. You can return your sex toy e-waste to us by post, and we’ll ensure it is disposed of properly for recycling and that no hazardous materials go to landfill.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, it would be great if you could hold on to your recyclables for now. Nikki Darling will resume recycling on behalf of people once the viral outbreak is under control. Any items that are posted to Nikki Darling during this time are not guaranteed to be recycled. Please check back to this page for updates. Thank you for understanding.
Sex toys for recycling can be returned to us by postage by thoroughly cleaning your product (including any charging cables or remote controls that you wish to dispose of) and sending it to:
Suite 483 / 585 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Please ensure your item is clearly labelled with your recycle request.