Hi everyone, Lisa here. As most of you know, Lunapads manufactures and sells washable cotton menstrual pads, liners and underwear. We do this because we believe that using healthy, eco-friendly menstrual products is a creative and empowering way to honor and care for ourselves and the planet.
For Madeleine, making the switch from tampons to cloth pads brought her the unexpected benefit of discovering a deeper connection with her body, too. You can listen here to her conversation with Jamye Waxman about the connection for her between period positivity and pleasure.
Lots of our customers tell us that they've had a similar experience, and that using Lunapads led them to a new found appreciation for their bodies; not just during their periods, but all throughout their cycles and every day of the month. For some of us, using sex toys is another one of the many ways we can nurture the relationships we have with our bodies. Of course, being the eco (and body!) friendly folks that we are, we want to be knowledgeable about the products we use and the effect they have on our bodies and the earth.
Unfortunately, sex toys are often made of a mystery-mix of chemicals and other ingredients not disclosed by their manufacturers - and because sex toys are classified as "novelty" items, they're not regulated by the FDA or held to the same health and safety checks that medical devices are. So, how do you choose a toy that's good for your health, and the health of the planet too? Here's some info about the different materials and options available to you.
"Sex is part of our lives, so any issue that concerns us out of the bedroom has implications inside it: if we recycle, buy local produce, watch our carbon use, and think ecologically in other ways, it makes sense to do the same when we make sexual choices. Our well-being and that of the earth are connected, so consider where you can go ecorotic!" Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations
True medical grade silicone toys are phthalate and pvc-free, durable, non-porous, and easy to clean - just use mild soap & warm water, then allow to dry completely before storing. Silicone toys can also be submerged in boiling water to be thoroughly sterilized, and reused for years.
Something important to note is that silicone toys are not compatible with silicone or silicone-based lubricants, which will dissolve the surface and really degrade the silicone over time. Instead, stick to natural, water-based lubes like Hathor, which we carry at Lunapads.com. Hathor Aphrodisia products are organically sourced and vegan, as well as paraben, petroleum and glycerin-free.
Glass toys are typically made of tempered, shatter-proof medical grade borosilicate glass (aka pyrex) which is a non-toxic material made of sand. Borosilicate toys are phthalate free, hypoallergenic, non-porous, and can be chilled or heated without damaging the integrity of the glass.
Other materials recommended by eco-sex aficionados include sustainably harvested wood, ceramic, and stainless steel. These materials are all very durable, which means they are less likely to end up in a landfill. When choosing a wooden toy, just be sure to look for a product that is treated with a body-safe and hypoallergenic sealant.
Jelly and soft rubber toys contain high concentrations of phthalates, which are petroleum-derived plastic / pvc softeners. These phthalates are highly volatile and easily released into the air and groundwater, and can be absorbed into your body through your skin and mucous membranes. Jelly toys are relatively inexpensive, which may make them desirable - but are they safe? There is a lot of debate around this issue, but what we do know for certain is that the use of phthalates in children's toys is restricted or outright banned in the EU, United States, Canada and Australia.
You will know if you have a toy that contains phthalates by its strong, plastic-y chemical smell and sometimes slick or oily film on the surface (eww). Some manufacturers add fragrance to mask the smell of phthalate off-gassing, which can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Jelly and soft rubber toys are extremely porous and can easily harbor bacteria and cause infections if not cleaned properly; which is pretty hard to to do since they can't be boiled.
In terms of energy use and vibrators in particular, look for toys that are rechargeable - or choose a vibrator that plugs in, since this doesn't require using disposable batteries, which equals less waste / batteries in the trash. Rechargeable toys are typically higher quality too, so they'll last years. There are even a few solar powered toys available, apparently. Anyone tried one?
Another factor to consider is where your toys are made, and that distance relative to where you live. Most sex toys are manufactured overseas. In 2005, The Guardian estimated that 70% of the world's sex toys are manufactured in China. If you're in Canada (like us) or the US, that's a very long way to travel and a hefty carbon footprint. Opt for toys that are manufactured closer to home whenever possible.
Which retailers and manufacturers do you trust for environmentally friendly and body safe sex toys?