Here’s how to recycle your sex toys in Vancouver
Despite repeated calls for sex toy recycling in Vancouver, no such action has been taken
Despite calls to make sex toy recycling available in Vancouver, the only option residents have for disposing of their broken or unwanted bedroom assistants is to ship them across the country.
Usually made of part plastic and part electronics, sex toys offer a unique recycling challenge that the city of Vancouver – or most of Canada – has failed to address. While silicone, a plastic widely used in sex toys, is slightly better for the environment than conventional plastics because they don’t break down into microplastics, it can still take up to 500 years so that the silicone breaks down on its own.
Albert Shamess, the director of waste management and resource recovery at the city of Vancouver confirmed with Vancouver is great there is no sex toy recycling program in the city. As far as Shamess is aware, no locals are working to fix the problem either.
Not that there’s a lack of demand though.
Vera Zyla, co-owner of the Art of lovinga Vancouver adult entertainment store, has been asking the city for several years to implement some sort of sex toy recycling.
“Nothing but the sound of crickets in response to that idea,” Zyla told VIA in an email. “There is a biohazard aspect to anything that has had bodily fluids, so there may be major hurdles to jump through for that reason, unlike a recycled used kitchen silicone spatula.”
“I think we need that service in this town,” Zyla continued. “Our planet is in crisis and anything we can do to reuse resources is something city officials need to realize.”
There isn’t much help at the provincial level either, as Recycle BC handles residential packaging and paper recycling, not products. Nor can the answer be found with Encorp Pacific, the nonprofit organization behind Return-It. Almost out of Encorp 150 categories of electronic devices approved for returnnone include sex toys.
Vancouverites who come closest to recycling their adult toys are putting them in a box and shipping them 3,300 kilometers to the Cooperative Come as you are in Toronto.
“We currently recycle vibrating toys, silicone and ABS plastic,” Lamon continued. “We recycle electronics locally with the municipality, recycle ABS plastic with a commercial recycler, and we sterilize and recycle silicone in-house (we’re saving it for a future project we’re working on).”
Lamon explained that recycling sex toys is a rarity because the process is ridiculously laborious and expensive.
“We do this because we are fundamentally anti-capitalist in everything we do; we are uncomfortable with all the garbage of consumerism; and since sex toy manufacturers don’t offer a way to recycle sex toys, we do it ourselves,” Lamon said.