The truth about plastic: Part 1 – Is plastic-free feasible?

The inconvenient and very awkward truth about the problem of plastic is overuse and the global reluctance to address this. Unless you elect to live in the stone age you need plastics. Within minutes of getting out of bed into a life without plastics you would be uncomfortable and very unsafe. As you step out of bed many of us put our feet on a carpet containing plastic fibres. The bristles in our toothbrushes are variants of the same fibres. The water flowing through the tap can only flow because the valves in the taps and the rest of the system are made from elastomers.

Making a plastic free breakfast would be almost impossible for the vast majority of us who could not cook on an open fire because the electricity in the circuits relies on insulated switching gear. The copper used in making the wiring has to be mined. The other metals used in making pipes for liquids and gas also have to be mined. Mining and refining rely on equipment and processes that cannot happen without thousands of plastic parts, not forgetting the miles and miles of electrical insulation around the wires of countless circuits. So, it does not matter where the electricity, water or gas could come from if it can’t be delivered to or used at the point of need in a plastic free world.

Without the heating on to fight off a chilly morning or make a warm drink some will succumb to infection and end up with bacterial pneumonia. The chances of dying from this common infection would substantially increase to about 1 in 3 without antibiotics. The production of antibiotics requires highly technical plastics used in piping for air and nutrient delivery systems. The loss of life caused by unavailability of antibiotics would be catastrophic in a plastic free world.

The huge worldwide effort to fight Covid has only been possible because of the use of plastics at the heart of the infrastructure that guarantee vaccine identity, purity, sterility, efficacy and safety that we have all been desperate for.

The truth is that plastics are not the problem, it’s the abuse of the resource of plastics that is the problem. If we treated all plastic (which are petroleum derived products) as a finite and therefore precious resource we would then reserve plastics for important uses. Here is the crunch. What do we all agree is the correct use of plastics? Is it the millions of tons of excessive single use plastic packaging, or the seals, electrical insulation and technical mouldings, sheets and tubes we all derive enormous benefit from?

In every sphere of life we all need a certain amount of guaranteed high quality plastic to meet the compliance demands of manufacturing. This can include medical, industrial, aeronautical, food and thousands of other important applications. To put it bluntly, would anyone accept a surgical implant made from grubby old food pots, no matter how much you washed them out before hand?
In our opinion the only viable option is to reduce the use of plastics for only those purposes where it really matters. This is where product designers can make the most difference. By using materials sensibly and designing proper products for a proper purpose we can use plastics in the right way and live with them in our world.



How much do our sex lives impact on climate change?

The adult toy industry is estimated to be worth £36.1 billion by 2027 and encompasses electronic products, clothing, lubricants and contraceptives within its remit. All of these products will have a carbon footprint and an impact on climate change. Clearly some more than others – 10 million latex condoms are reportedly manufactured each year and disposed of in landfill after a single use. Many water-based or organic lubricants cannot be used with most condoms because of the risks of breakages.

So there lies a problem. Being responsible and protecting ourselves (i.e. using proper methods of contraception) can be in direct conflict with protecting our planet. The environmental costs of contraception will need to be off-set but it is our choice as a consumer if and how we choose to do this. For example, pledging a meat-free day, walking instead of using the car, showering instead of using the bath can all act as carbon offsets in exchange for our extracurricular activity!

Many pleasure product manufacturers are now considering ethical design – rechargeable toys and ethically made lingerie now feature in the majority of online and bricks and mortar retail outlets. Manufacturing poorly designed and poorly made novelty products is not justified. Not only does this damage the reputation of our industry but these products are manufactured waste products that shamefully clog up the planet.

We touched on the latest ISO 3533 safety standards for sex toys in our last article. Although voluntary, these standards will help set a quality bar within the industry.

At Sated Design, we can do our bit by ensuring that every product we design has a purpose and is designed with quality and longevity in mind. We invite our clients to think about the bigger picture too through their innovation.

It isn’t always possible to do the best thing for our planet in order to protect our own selves, however by being design savvy and off setting with ethical consideration we will go a way towards reducing our carbon footprint.

If you have an idea for a new adult toy or wish to review a current one we’d be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us today.



We’re in ETO Magazine!

We are delighted that our opinion on the latest ISO 3533 standards for adult pleasure products features as part of an industry standards article in the November issue of ETO Magazine.

Read the full article here.

Billed as the “Pleasure Products Trade Magazine”, ETO is a respected B2B publication distributed to adult retailers and manufacturers based in the UK. The publication has a total readership of 15,000.

Let us know your views…..

Do you think the new safety standard, even voluntary, well help to improve the reputation of our industry? We’d love to hear from you!

If you have an idea for a new adult toy or wish to review a current one, we’d be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us today.