1. Rabbit Amnesty - What Happens to Your Recycled Sex Toys?

    Rabbit Amnesty - first sex toys returned Our Rabbit Amnesty sex toy recycling scheme has got off to a flying start. Mentioned in The Mirror, The Guardian and all over the blogosphere (TM), Rabbit Amnesty (and the Talking Rabbit) has really captured the imagination of people who like pleasure but also want to do their bit for the environment.

    Quite a few people thought it was a wind-up - a tragically mis-timed April Fool. But nothing could be further from the truth - we're deadly serious. We are going to recycle your old vibrators.

    A lot of people have asked us what's going to happen to the rabbits when they're returned. Will they be repackaged and resold? Can any of the parts really be reused? Isn't handling the returned vibes one of the world's most unpleasant jobs?

    Well, here you can see our ace rabbit operative Ian doing it. In that green bin are a weekend's worth of returned rabbit vibrators.

    Lovehoney's ace rabbit operative Ian surveys the first recycling bounty It's Ian's job to open them up, put the rabbits in a box and the packaging in another. Ian also processes the returns so the people who have ordered a half-price rabbit vibrator get their new vibrator sent in double-quick time.

    Unpictured is an even larger set of cardboard boxes where each day's batch of Rabbit Amnesty rabbits are placed. When we have a rabbit mountain, they'll be sent to a Designated Collection Facility and recycled.

    Of course, that will be an extra journey for the vibrators, so we will pay to off-set the carbon dioxide generated by that journey. Every little helps.

    We will pay for the recycling - this is in addition to Lovehoney meeting its responsibilities as a member of an approved Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS). Exactly what happens at the DCF is set out in the WEEE regulations - the DCFs are run by licensed companies who have to treat and recycle to the necessary environmental standards.

    Today they're rabbits, tomorrow they're kettles. Well, parts of them will be We've arranged with an approved recycling facility to take our Rabbit Amnesty rabbit vibrators and reycyle the parts. They'll be turned into a huge range of things.

    Steel balls and metal from the circuit boards will be taken and sent to a smelting company where it will be turned into sheet steel. That could become anything from a kettle to a reinforced steel joint to a cruise ship.

    It doesn't even matter if you've left the batteries in. The machine can separate these from the rest of the material and they'll be sent separately for recycling and processing.

    Rubber and plastic parts that can't be recycled will be sent to a power station where they will become fuel for generating electricity. So this winter, your house could be heated and lit by recycled rabbits… A thought to warm the cockles on a long winter night!

    We plan to follow our first batch of Rabbit Amnesty rabbits through the recycling centre so you can see exactly what happens next.

    Click here if you want to recycle your sex toys and take the Rabbit Amnesty Pledge.

    Comments (22)

    • disgusted: August 29, 2007 00:40
      I think in all it's a pretty dirty job but someone has to do it; however a couple of qustions that I have is <
      of course, that will be an extra journey for the vibrators, so we will pay to off-set the carbon dioxide generated by that journey. Every little helps.> following this statemnt I am left wondering how paying any money offsets against the carbon dioxide? Isn't that statement purely a look at us donating money factor that has no relevance to the damage carbon monoxide causes? Money does not regenerate the Ozone layer etc etc etc and who will you pay the money to exactly?

      Also, isn't it a little unhygenic to be working with those vibrators and not be wearing gloves???

      personally my view on this is you did a very good advertising scheme as opposed to having real green beliefs. Knwing full well an idea like this would take the press by storm and revenue generated from people visiting your site from the advertising would more than cover the costs of this madcap scheme, especially seeing as you offer half price vibes for returning an old one.

      Seems to me that you did it purely as a money making scheme for your company and that puts me off ever buying from you again.

    • Richard: September 07, 2007 11:58
      Hi, Thank you very much for your comments.

      That's a very dismal view to take.

      Does it matter what our motivation is if we do something genuinely helpful for the environment?

      Would it have been better if we had done nothing at all? Would you prefer for all these products to still go to landfill and for nobody to be aware that there is an alternative to throwing away used sex toys?

      > am left wondering how paying any money offsets against the carbon dioxide

      This Web site explains how it is done: http://www.carbonbalanced.org/corporate/carbonoffset.htm

      Yes, the best thing to do is for people to change their behaviour. You can see what else we're doing here: www.lovehoney.co.uk/help/lovehoney-and-the-environment/

      Paying to offset emissions is the first step.

      What have you done to help? What have the companies that you buy from done?

      We wouldn't pretend that Rabbit Amnesty will save the world.

      It will help a little bit.
      It will raise awareness of recycling sex toys.
      It has encouraged LoveHoney to change the way it operates and consider the environment.
      It has encouraged to off-set emissions.

      And yes - it has got us some publicity.

      Is that worse than doing nothing at all?

      What have you done?

      What have the companies that you buy from done?

    • same as above: September 08, 2007 00:08
      I find your attitude disturbing! I do my bit as do many people.

      Do you really believe you are doing your bit with this rabbit amnesty??? As far as I can see is you have done 1 big publicity stunt; and as far as making your staff touch USED vibrators withut wearing gloves, well words still fail me.

      The vast majority of folk who have donated their used vibraots (and lets face facts it isn't as many as you are portraying) are ony doing so because of the half price deal you are doing. Also as a MAJOR wholesaler in this industry I know how much money you are making even with selling half price. I actually research companies as part of my pro and yours was quite high up until this and now my recommendaions go elsewhere.
      You never know, and never will, I may be one of your suppliers, ony I know the fact behind that!!!

      I just find this a tasteless scam and it has made me look at you for the 2penny web shop that you truly are. I thought once you no longer dropshipped yu might make it, but now I find your advertising is atrocious. This is not your way of helping the world, after all how do YOU package your goods??? It is your way of false advertising t make a few lousy cheap bucks.

      Branded items that you yourself are buying the rights to brand as your own are being packaged in plastic, hmm does what happens to plastic after the wrapper is taken off???????????????

    • Sarah Rands: September 08, 2007 00:14
      hem, I have to ask, how on earth do our servers add to carbon dioxide.

      Pasted from your site

      LoveHoney Web Servers Carbon Offset
      LoveHoney's Web servers are hosted with a company that offsets its carbon emissions in association with the International Tree Foundation. Trees are planted in Pembrokeshire to offset the emissions of LoveHoney's servers.

      The oly way I can think you possibly mean is the electricity used to power the servers? However if this was the case then wy not use GREEN energy, there are plenty of companies offering this nowadays...

    • Chuckle Sister: September 09, 2007 01:57
      I have watched this thread with interest as I have to say, I feel the same as the 2 persons above me and I was flabbergasted to say the least when the owner of this site came on to defend herself!

      I really think she ought to have just kept quiet and tried to continue quietly that she is doing her job in trying to help save the planet. She has had her day (publicity etc) with this joke and should leave it there, rather than trying unsucsesfully to prove she believes in being 'green'. Her comments and ideas prove this is not genuinley the case.

      I donate, personally to many charities each year, She is bragging about it, but note she doesn't state how much, it could be as little as 5p per year or as much as £5 but in this case I would doubt it is a lot as it all seems to be misleading information here.

      It just does not add up at all. This woman could not be less green if she was the hulk.

    • Richard: September 10, 2007 09:24
      Thank you all for your comments - very interesting to read.

      Here is more information about our Webhost's carbon offsetting. http://www.rackspace.co.uk/greenhosting/

      As I said before carbon offsetting isn't the answer - changing the way we operate is - but offsetting is a first step and, yes, it's better than doing nothing.

      Yes, we will look at using green electricity for our office and warehouse.

      Yes, the staff do have gloves. I'll remind Ian to wear them.

      @disgusted - I am not entirely sure of the relevance of whether or not you work for a company that supplies LoveHoney.

      But it is relevant that you work for vibratordelights a site that is a competitor to LoveHoney - so perhaps you should have declared that interest when you posted. People might think you have an ulterior motive for being so critical.

      Also, you are ill-informed: "I thought once you no longer dropshipped yu might make it"

      LoveHoney has never droppshipped.

      @Chuckle sister - thank you very much for your comments. I'm not entirely sure what you think doesn't add up.

      We are doing something - which is better than nothing.

      Yes, we have got some publicity for it.

      What information have you found misleading information? The Rabbit Amnesty site says that we donate £1 to the World Land Trust for every recycled vibrator. We have already donated £1,000.

      Thank you again for your comments.

    • Kristen: March 07, 2008 07:04
      I think what you are doing is creating awareness and that's a GREAT thing. No one can expect one company to save the world and it wasn't until I saw your site that I even had a clue that sex toys could be recycled. I am a party plan rep in the United States and I will definitely tell my customers and party hosts about what you are doing. I'm sure these naysayers are doing oh so much to save the planet too (note the sarcasm). What company is going to give out free anything just because you recycle something? Honestly people, get a grip it's business and this business is at least doing something to help and who cares if they are making money...that's what being a business is all about.
    • richard: March 07, 2008 08:59
      Hi Kirsten, many thanks for your message of support :-) it's much appreciated!

      The Rabbit Amnesty is still going strong and we receive old products every day. We're keeping the recycling company busy - and amused!

    • A Genuine Green Person & Not The Incredible Hulk L: March 08, 2008 09:22
      If this scheme was intended to raise awareness in our world it would have been a good thing, but it isn't. It was purely an advertising scheme and publicity stunt making money from pulling at peoples heartstrings.

      I donate to many charities, I use green Energy from EDF, I recycle everything that I can and believe by doing so that I personally am doing my bit in this world. I don't need any publicity, thanks or stunts to feel good about myself and my fule bills are higher since going green but this is a cost that I glady bear. Have you now gone Green in your office and warehouse as since you posted to say you will look into it you have had more than enough time to check it out and be fully up and running.
      I look forward to your answer which is easily checkable.
      I really would be congratulating you had I believed this was genuine but it just isn't and note your only support on here is from a US resident who actually had to say "(note the sarcasm)" as she thinks the rest of the world is thick and wouldn't get what she was saying.

    • Richard - LoveHoney: March 11, 2008 11:05
      Hi Genuine Green - thank you for your comments and congrats on your recycling efforts.

      Yes, this is genuine - these pictures of burly men standing around looking quizzically at a bulldozer load of sex toys are not staged:


      And nor is this video of sex toys being recycled:


      Yes, we are making efforts to recycle and reduce waste.

      In fact, only today our warehouse manager apologetically explained why we were going to be unable to continue to use 100% recycled boxes for our deliveries because the dust from the boxes creates an environment that's not nice for the pickers and packers to work in.

      So the supplier is going to have to line the boxes with some crepe paper that isn't recycled in order to contain the dust.

      So our boxes will only be 82% recycled.

      I'm not sure how that is "checkable" though!

      Thank you again for visiting!

    • Richard - LoveHoney: March 11, 2008 11:07
      Oh! And this just in from the World Land Trust...

      "I am writing to thank you for using the World Land Trust’s carbon offsetting service and to advise you that the World Land Trust’s 2007 Restoration Ecology Annual Report is now available on the Carbon Balanced website at http://www.carbonbalanced.org/projects/G6-annual-reports.asp

      WLT would like to take this opportunity to thank LoveHoney Ltd for contributing to the success and development of the Carbon Balanced programme during 2007 and to inform you that the LoveHoney Ltd offset has been allocated to the Sierra Gorda project. Details on how the carbon funds have been utilised at the Sierra Gorda reserve can be found in the annual report and on the Carbon Balanced website.

      WLT values the support and commitment of all its carbon balanced companies’ and is pleased to be able to share its achievements with LoveHoney Ltd."

      As I said before: we're doing something, it's better than doing nothing.


    • Madam Raison D'etre: May 06, 2009 11:11
      Hi Love Honey

      Hey I orderd from you guys, the ordering process was straight forward, excellent prices, and could not beleive the speed in which they were delivered.

      5* Superb Service

      Just a thought, but why don't you have product bloggers other than your staff?
      Wouldn't it make sense ?

      Hot Kisses
      Madam Raison D'etre

    • Richard: May 06, 2009 11:22
      Hi Madam,
      Thank you for your comment - glad you like the service!

      Not sure what you mean by "product bloggers" as such, but customers are encouraged to review the things they buy from us.

      The reviews are featured on the product pages and in the reviews section here: www.lovehoney.co.uk/community/reviews/

      Looking forward to reading yours!

    • Scott: May 14, 2009 21:23

      As a repeat customer with only praise for the company, keep up the good work, it's good to see the initialtive. As you said, it's better than doing nothing and you haven't got anything to prove to naysayers, despite the video and pictures to show a hell of a lot more is going activity going on than if it was a publicity stunt. You can't do right for doing wrong eh!

    • Richard: May 15, 2009 09:00
      Hi Scott, thank you for your support! Glad you've had a good experience with shopping at LoveHoney - we'll keep trying on all fronts :-)
    • Sexy Sass: May 21, 2009 22:57
      My goodness, what negative comments coming from the top!

      Who cares if it's a sly piece of advertising? Hey, that's commerce for you. I'm sure you don't verbally attack supermarkets for putting chocolate stands at the till, yet that would be more harmful than recycling your old vibrator.
      Perhaps these posters are frustrated? I recommend a purchase from Lovehoney to banish those antsy feelings!

      I think it's a great idea and I shall be digging out my battered old rabbit for recycling. It's no good for anything else & I'd much rather it went to some use.
      Another thumbs up here, LH!



    • LoveHoney - Richard: May 22, 2009 09:00
      Mwah to you too Sass! :-) The more recycling the better, we reckon
    • Rosie thorns: May 23, 2009 14:18
      Right then. All you depressing and negative people out there- what's wrong with you? Rather than send all the old toys to landfill, they're being recycled which is a start. They're offsetting which is also a start. You cant just dive into something like this and it be perfect and natural and green, it takes time and effort and SUPPORT from the relevant people. I think it's a great idea and I can't wait for the great ideas to get better because that is what will happen. The system will improve along with technology. Advertising isn't a bad thing either because now people KNOW they can recycle they are going to want to know how to do it better and are probably going to visit the site. I've used them a few times and have never had a problem.
      Friendly and helpful at lovehoney? what are they thinking, how dare they be nice and it is completely unreasonable of them to try to be greener.
      Some people have no idea.
    • Jake Holden: May 23, 2009 18:48
      As Richard has said, yes the scheme does generate sales, positive PR and a warm feeling for (most of) the people that read about it which makes them more likely to buy from LoveHoney - but it also keeps plastic and metals out of landfill, the net overall effect is positive - there is a positive environmental effect and LH generates revenue that allows it to continue trading in a responsible and sustainable manner, which generates further environmental benefits.

      There are a few people on this thread giving the impression that they are 'green gurus' - and I as an undergraduate studying Ecology and Environmental Science I realise it's a complicated subject and one that people feel very strongly about, but these people that criticise the Amnesty scheme are missing a key point. To reverse our reliance on non-biodegradable plastics and the fossil fuels that plastic is made from behaviour needs to change. That's obvious enough, but the behaviour of large groups will never change unless there is a stronger incentive than environmental consciousness or 'green kudos' - and generally the most powerful incentive is money. This technique's been put to good use with the marketing of energy saving light bulbs and insulation, they're both sold not just as green items, but ones that reduce power and heating bills. By running these scheme LH is showing its competitors, and other businesses, that being environmentally responsible and the compulsory WEEE scheme don't just equal additional costs, but they can boost revenue and be a powerful marketing tool. They are leading the way and promoting responsible business practices that benefit everyone, and for that they deserve the positive press that the Amnesty scheme has received, as well as the revenue it has hopefully generated for the business.

    • mandy: May 28, 2009 07:47
      what a brilliant idea to recycle old rabbits and toys that otherwise would lay in the back off drawers dusty and never used again i shall be didding deep and sending mine off xxx
    • Amused.: May 29, 2009 00:12
      Wow guys calm down. Instead of taking this as an evil capitalistic plot lets look at it another way- we are putting old unwanted items which can not be put in your average recycling bin to good use. Yes this will create public awareness of the company and will enhance sales and give people a warm fuzzy feeling but I that doesn't take away from the fact that it is still doing something for the environment. It may be small but it is something! What does it matter if it raises the companys profile- that my friends is just good marketing and something which every company takes advantage of!
    • Alex: August 09, 2009 17:14

      Firstly, I am an independant consultant who has worked in the sustainability sector for quite a few years now and I rate it as a flippin' good effort- LH are leading the way in raising awareness of recycling these products. Carbon offsetting- yes there are positives and negatives- just that-once again- it is better than nothing and a good move towards dealing with the reality of how we demand, purchase, use, discard goods currently. Just don't think it is the be all and end all as it certainley is not a free get out of jail card to live lighter on the lovely old world!

      Also, this scheme is endorsed my several good and quite high profile eco types I know, including Tracey Smith who mentions it in her book of Rubbish ideas. Genuine green-do behave- what these guys are doing is the same as you on your green tariif with EDF. Green tariff- woo hoo- not even Good Energy or Ecotricity who have better green credentials IMO. Start some mircogeneration going and then protest about old coal powers stations etc... REALLY- get off yer high horse and go and turn your set top box off every night instead. There are people who are doing more, and less, eco behaviours and using products technologies than all of us BUT whatever stage you are at we all need to be doing things better for our pockets and the planet-ASAP and it all has to start somewhere...

      Lighten up people, it can be fun, tongue in cheek and even sexy trying to be more green. Well done LoveHoney- keep up the good work. Off to find what can be charged up via solar powered charger hee heeeeeeeee!