Silicone products are taking over many areas of our lives – from the kitchen to the bathroom; they’re there to replace anything made of plastic. But is it actually a good, eco-friendly alternative? The easy answer is: Yes, absolutely! But let’s dive a little deeper.
How is silicone produced?
Unlike plastic, which is made from non-renewable crude oil, silicone is made from silica; a mineral most commonly found in sand. This means that silica isn’t necessarily there in indefinite quantities but there’s much more than there is crude oil. Plus, with silicone being this durable, we won’t be using it at the same speed and in the same quantities. The only big downside is that the silica needs to be heated up using gas and oil which, unfortunately, makes the silicone non-biodegradable.
Is silicone recyclable?
Theoretically, yes. However, because silicone can’t be recycled but merely downcycled, you probably won’t be able to put your silicone items out with your general recycling. You’ll likely need to send it to a more specialist recycling company. They will be able to turn it into various different products like mulch for playground or industrial lubricants. Also, bear in mind, you won’t need to constantly recycle silicone items! With the right care they’ll be with you for years and years to come.
How durable is silicone?
The answer is: Super durable! Much more so than plastic. It easily survives anything from very hot to freezing temperatures; circumstances, in which plastic would likely going to melt or crack. Make sure to get high quality silicone, though, when buying new products as lower quality silicone can (and likely will) be damaged super easily.
Is good silicone damaged easily?
No! Silicone is super flexible, and you can bend and fold it like you want (something you’ll be well aware of if you’re using a menstrual cup) without damaging it. No matter how high the quality of your silicone, it will always need to be handled with proper care. Always use appropriate cleaning products and materials that don’t scratch the silicone as that will make it prone to rips and tears.
So, how do I know which silicone is best?
Ideally, you’re looking for products that are made from medical grade or food grade silicone. This will ensure that they don’t include any unwanted toxins or chemicals. You might also want to double check that the product you are about to buy doesn’t contain any chemical fillers. Simply twist or pinch it; if it changes colour, you know that fillers have been involved in production. Pure silicone will stay the same even if pinched or twisted.
Due to its durability, silicone is definitely a great alternative for anything plastic. It also gets some plus points in the health corner because it doesn’t contain any of the harmful toxins that you usually find in plastic. However, it will also need t be recycled, or rather downcycled, properly as it will end up in landfill otherwise. And even though it’s not as harmful for the environment as plastic, it’s still not biodegradable and will take forever and a day to disappear.