When most companies talk about the “circular economy,” they usually mean building an economic system that leaves zero waste. But what counts as waste? Is it just material waste? Or can it also include a product’s social side effects?
These are just a few of the questions we have been asking ourselves at Modality — questions we do not have answers for yet. In fact, we are still defining exactly what we mean when we use the term. Our working definition involves reducing three kinds of waste:
- Environmental Waste
Here, we mean any environmental trauma created as a result of product design, manufacturing, and disposal. For sex toys in particular, we are concerned about product disposal and design — especially sex toy modularity and sex toy recycling. We explore sex toy sustainability in our our whitepaper, “Recycle My Vibrator?”
2. Social Waste
This category is a bit trickier because it covers two ideas: sexual harm that the industry did not create and sexual harm the industry may have created.
Sexual Harm we did not create, is the sexual harm that has existed in the world for centuries as a result of power dynamics and lack of access to quality sex education. In this regard, reducing social waste would make us sanitation engineers cleaning the streets and building a more sex positive society.
On the other hand, there are any unintended side effects to the products and services we create. This is not unique to sex tech (Facebook, anybody?), but is required to be a socially responsible enterprise.
3. Ethical Waste
Admittedly, this category needs a new name. The basic idea is to eliminate exploitation along the sex product supply chain e.g. labor exploitation in factories that produce sex products. Many sexual wellness products are manufactured by third parties. This makes it hard to know what happens at each stage of sex product production.
This is still a work in progress. Are you interested in developing the sexual circular economy framework with us?
Get in touch at hello[at]modalitygroup.co and check out our website at www.modalitygroup.co