“If you’re thinking about what’s going into your food, why don’t you think about what’s going inside your vagina?”
Meika Hollender isn’t a woman to mess about when it comes to the important questions. The co-founder of Sustain Natural, a US-based company that makes eco-friendly and ethical condoms and lubes (plus tampons and sanitary pads) is on a mission to green up your bedroom antics.
Now. We know that ‘sustainable’ probably isn’t a word you’ve ever thought of applying to sex. But, between unethical rubber plantations and the presence of milk-derived casein being used in their processing (i.e. most are not suitable for vegans) condoms are more of a minefield than you’d think.
Meika founded the brand with her dad, (!) entrepreneur and activist Jeffrey Hollender, back in 2014. The business aims to work against two non sustainable players in the modern sex hygiene industry: a harmful chemical called nitrosamine, that is produced during the manufacturing process of latex condoms and the lack of rubber plantations that treat people and the planet properly.
“We don’t believe that harmful ingredients have any place going into the most intimate part of your body,” Meika says. Sustain Natural made a change to the traditional condom manufacturing process, adding a safe chemical that stopped nitrosamine from being produced in their latex. Secondly, the rubber that goes into their wares is certified Fair Trade. It’s grown on a sustainable rubber plantation which pays workers a living wage and sets reasonable working hours.
“We looked into it and discovered the terrible conditions that condoms are being manufactured under. Most rubber plantations use child labour and bad chemicals. Our plantation is family-run, and ensures the absence of child labour,” Meika says.
When buying contraception, lube, or just about anything that will enhance your sex life, buy products that are clear about their manufacturing processes, Meika advises. “Look for brands that are being transparent about the ingredients in their products. This is so important, because whatever is in them is going to be going inside your body.”
Following a great response to their condoms, they added lube and ‘post-play wipes’ to their offering. The lift in sustainable sex brands is a result of young people increasingly questioning where everything they consume comes from, Meika reckons. In the US, fellow ethical intimates brand L. is also making waves.
Sadly, Sustain Natural isn’t yet available in the UK, but fear not. Berlin-based company Einhorn are also making strides with their always fair, always sustainable condoms. These are available for UK delivery.
So, if you’ve got your KeepCup and your re-useable water bottle and you’re purging your shopping habits of fast fashion, then it’s time to join Meika on her mission and graduate to the adult stuff.
Your sex life can help save the planet, people.