She warned, "If you smell a strong chemical smell or it's unusually inexpensive phthalates are the cheap way to make a rubber pliable it probably contains materials that are not good for you or the environment."
As an alternative, the staff at Libida and Good Vibes suggests silicone, a recyclable, hypoallergenic, and nonporous substance also used in cookware and medical devices. Both retailers stock products by Vixen Creations (www.vixencreations.com), a local woman-owned dildo company celebrating 17 successful years. Vixen develops and manufactures popular silicone toys at its San Francisco factory, where each toy is crafted by hand and given a lifetime warranty something unprecedented in the field.
Like silicone, wood is used in body-safe and eco-conscious sex toys, but has the added benefit of being naturally beautiful. Founded in 2005, NobEssence (www.nobessence.com) sells handmade sculptural toys that resemble antique curios. CEO Jason Yoder has an environmentalist's background, having worked as an auditor for SA8000, a global accountability standard of ethical working conditions. During a phone conversation, Yoder remarked, "We hold ourselves to that standard not because we want to seem greener but because it's self-evident that it's the right thing to do." NobEssence sources sustainably farmed and harvested hardwood, and suppliers sign a code of conduct designating penalties for labor or ecological violations.
Borosilicate glass is another aesthetically pleasing material option. Sexual locavores who enjoyed the recent Dale Chihuly retrospective at the de Young Museum must visit Glass Kandi (569 Geary, SF. www.glassdildome.com), where each uniquely hand-blown toy is a gleaming parcel of sexy sui generis. "I have more glass dildos in my kitchen than I do in this store," owner Samantha Liu told me mischievously. "I'd been using this stuff for years." When I heard her say "kitchen," my eyes instinctively fell upon her "Produce Collection": halcyon dildos of garden-variety cucumbers, jalapenos, and bananas plus a Chinese bitter melon and a cob of corn. "I've had people send me pictures with one of these in a fruit basket," Liu said. Liu designs most of the toys herself and works with local glassblowers to materialize them into objects of desire. Borosilicate glass may not be the recyclable kind, but these crystalline baubles would be criminal to discard.
Stationary toys like glass and wood dildos have their advantages, but sometimes it's helpful when a toy moves on your behalf. With unique technical innovations, two local companies, JuicyLogic (www.juicylogic.com) and Jimmyjane (www.jimmyjane.com), have introduced impressive reinterpretations of the traditional vibrator, clearly illustrating that the demand for green solutions has never been higher than now.
JuicyLogic, started by Zebroff of Libida, is the company behind the only solar-powered vibrator on the market. "I started JuicyLogic in an ongoing effort to focus on finding and making green sex toys," she explained. "The idea of Sola Vibe came up when we found out that the only solar-powered vibrator on the market was being discontinued. We knew there was nothing else available, and we wanted to make sure solar power was an option for vibrator users." Like many green crusaders, Zebroff hopes to reduce battery waste. "The average person uses up eight batteries per year, leaving 2.4 billion batteries disposed of each year.