Giving dead dildos new life

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Question

I live in Toronto and I heard that in some other cities there is a recycling service for dildos and other battery-operated and silicone/plastic sex toys. I'm not sure I want my roommate or neighbours seeing my old vibrator in the blue box. Is there a place I can go or someone I can contact to find out about recycling resources for sex toys in Toronto?

—Not Easy Being Green

Answer

Many years ago I spoke to Turtle Island Recycling about this very issue and after a Candid Camera-style phone interview ("You wanna recycle what? Har, har! Oh you're serious? Hang on I have got to get my boss, he will just die. HEY FELLAS LISTEN TO THIS!"), they said they would do it.

Whether or not that was actually the case, they no longer do. Ivan, the corporate compliance manager at Turtle Island elaborates: "If a dildo manufacturer messed up a batch, you know, if they were bent the wrong way or the head was on the wrong end, we would consider them to have scrap value because I would have a large quantity of items of the same composition that I could offer someone."

Ivan says one problem in recycling sex toys is that from manufacturer to manufacturer, the materials are often slightly different and this impacts how they can be recycled afterwards. Additionally he notes, "They don't have big box stores for those items, like the LCBO where they have an infrastructure in place to take care of recycling their bottles. That same infrastructure doesn't exist for the dildo industry. If the average person consumed, say, 500 pounds of dildos a year, well then maybe we'd have that infrastructure."

Still, there are a lot of people who have a lot of sex toys and when they conk out, what's a perv to do if they don't want to just chuck it out?

One excellent option I've found is out of the States. David Kowalsky is the president and CEO of a company called Dreamscapes, which began offering a wide-ranging sex toy-recycling program in late 2008 that is open to anyone, anywhere and is available to retailers and manufacturers as well.

"In regard to the mixed-material components, all materials are broken down then repurposed or recycled," Kowalsky says. "[People] should be aware that numerous recycling centres repurpose or reuse mixed materials, especially rubber and silicone. On a side note, most of the products that we receive are either TPR [thermoplastic rubber], latex rubber or silicone, which are all recyclable."

You'll be happy to know that Dreamscapes was thoroughly audited and scrutinized in regard to their environmental standards as well as their recycling procedures. As a result, says Kowalsky, "Dreamscapes' environmental and recycling practices scored as one of the highest ever certified by the Institute for Green Business."

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