Silicone Rocks! And Plastic Totally Sucks - 6 Reasons
Why You Should Switch
"I want to replace plastic! But is silicone a good replacement?" We asked ourselves this very question when researching the best, plastic-free alternatives we could offer y'all. Let's cut to the chase - yes it is (I mean you must've known that as as you read the title), but we won't just leave you with a blunt "yes, next question". Instead, below we detail the six points we used in discovering how silicone blows plastic out of the water! It is of our opinion that every sustainable superhero on the planet needs to know so without further ado, here are the six HUGE reasons why plastic totallyyyy sucks and silicone ROCKS!
Isn't silicone just another form of plastic?
No. It might surprise you that despite a visual resemblance, silicone is actually closer to the rubber family than plastic. As we go on to highlight below, silicone is much, much better than plastic when it comes to reusability (made to be reused), your health (free of BPA and other chemical toxins) and the earth (endlessly recyclable). Our silicone doesn't contain any chemical fillers or by-products, giving it the 'food grade' certification.
① Plastic is made from crude oil. Silicone is made from sand.
Naturally deriving from inert sand, silicone (with an 'e') is made by first applying heat to silica - a form of the element Silicon (no ‘e’) which is readily available in most sand. To create silicone, silica is extracted and processed by applying heat, often using natural gas (it's only detractor). The silicon it heats is the 2nd most abundant natural material on EARTH. The first? It is indeed the air we breathe (well, at least its most fundamental aspect), good old Oxygen. Plastic meanwhile, is petroleum based, usually deriving from crude oil - which can surely be considered the most unsustainable resource on earth - and is created by altering the oil’s carbon compounds. Put plainly, in terms of resource extraction, the production of plastic is completely non-renewable and finite to the point of running out! While silicone is a hybrid material (requiring natural gas to be heated) and therefore cannot be considered the most sustainable resource there is, it is certainly a better alternative to its completely unsustainable predecessor.
② Silicone is durably made to be reused.
When pitted against plastic, there is no comparison. Silicone is designed to be durable. Designed to be long lasting. Designed to be reused. It's sand-based manufacturing creates a material that’s been recorded to last up to 45 years, and has applications not just with food but in hospitals, automotive and even space! It can endure intensely hot and cold temperatures, without cracking or melting. Where plastic will crack, bend, stain and degrade overtime, silicone will not. Where plastic is made with an expiry date or is straight up single-use, silicone is made to be reused. How is it so durable you ask? It’s chemical makeup and mechanical properties ensure so. Don’t ask us more on this, we don’t understand it either. Maybe that’s how it should be - mysterious. Feel free to contact us with the answer if you have it. We may add it in. Anyway I’m rambling, let me continue...
③ From the microwave to the freezer, silicone is happy wherever.
More widely usable than its plastic pals, whether its a silicone lid, straw, baking mat, cup or mug, choosing silicone is choosing versatility. Since it's durable under intensely hot or cold temperatures, you can use it safely and without fear of melting in the oven or microwave; and without concern of cracking in the freezer. Plastics survive none of the aforementioned unscathed.
④ Silicone is easy to clean - wash it worry free.
Here's a major bonus - you can even pop it in the dishwasher! Oh yeah - plastic can't endure those kind of temperatures but silicone bathes in them 😎 You can also hand-wash with a little warm soapy water if you prefer. Either way your silicone products will be good as new after a clean, no lingering smell of beans here - easy peasy.
⑤ Silicone is endlessly recyclable.
“But plastic can be recycled too, it goes in my recycling bin” - a common misconception is that all plastic you throw away will somehow all become other plastic products. That milk carton you’re finished with will simply be turned into a new milk carton. Sadly, we do not live in that world. In addition to the fact just 9% of plastic is actually recycled, ultimately, most plastics are lucky to be recycled once 😳 and even when it is it generally has to be down-cycled in a lesser product (you can read more on this, here) The more you recycle plastic, the worst it gets - making it less appealing to manufacturers due to its constantly reduced variety of applications. That brings us to silicone. Which, as highlighted, is endlessly recyclable. What does this mean you ask? Well, just as plastic can once be turned into something less, silicone can be turned into something more, something equal or something less than what it was previously, endlessly - so long as properly disposed of. When incinerated or otherwise recycled, silicone will revert back to its original harmless ingredients (amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor), ready to be reused and repurposed; endlessly. Check your local recycling centre for ‘food grade silicone’.
⑥ Plastic gives out toxins and breaks down into micro-fragments. Silicone doesn't.
Environmentally speaking, plastic is as bad as it gets. I'm sure you are well vested in the negatives that derive from improper plastic disposal, and while silicone's detractors will say "but silicone isn't biodegradable either" - they are totally overlooking important context to that acknowledgement. Most important of which is that silicone will not give out toxins when incinerated, unlike plastics which pollute with harmful toxins when burned. In the worst case scenario in which silicone is not properly recycled and winds up in our landfills or oceans, it does not represent the same environmental problems that plastic does. It will not degrade into micro-fragments as plastic does. While there are numerous plastics out there for different settings, even those as thin as plastic wrap are harmful on the whole to the environment and wildlife, and as recently discovered, people too. Silicone, does not have these problems. As silicone is not biodegradable due to its unmatched durability, it will stay solid over a long period of time. While on the face of it this sounds like a bad thing - it actually saves people and wildlife from harm as the larger pieces are less likely to be ingested. Wowza.
So, how can we conclude?
On the whole, we don't want to brainwash you into thinking silicone is perfect and plastic is the devil. As we have highlighted too, silicone also has its detractors - though there are much, much less of them. Most notably, its requirement of natural gas (or similar) to heat it; releasing the hydrocarbons necessary to produce the hybrid material. I’m sure one day soon some genius out there will find a more sustainable way to heat it too. For now, we must settle for it being much, much better than plastic, but still not perfect. That title coincidentally may go to bamboo, which we are in the process of introducing sitewide.
When it’s all said and done, silicone (with an ‘e’) is certainly the most straightforward replacement for many of the single-use and plastic products around your home. It is a change you can make overnight and without sacrifice. It is a change that will often actually improve upon the plastics which preceded it. The choice is easy. Or at least we think so.
Shop ‘The Silicone Collection’ and read more about the product benefits.
With this article, our aim is to educate. Speaking to friends and family it became clear that many just don’t know there are better alternatives out there. That or they don’t realise how destructive their innocent behaviours can be. Naturally, with that we began researching the best reusable, sustainable alternatives out there, and the results are what you see before you now across our store. The research is what you have read in this article. Now it’s your turn to teach. Take the reins.