Is silicone sustainable?
Understand the history, forms of use, and the main differences between silicone and plastic
What is the origin of silicone?
Silicone is not a widely known material, even though it was discovered in 1824. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzeliu heated potassium chips in a silica cauldron and then, after washing, noticed that he had created material with unique properties. Tcharan! Thus, the first silicone was born.
Silicon, one of the main elements in silicon, is the seventh most abundant element in the universe and the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, better known as sand. Today, this substance is produced by heating sand with carbon to temperatures close to 2200°C.
Silicone is a type of silicone rubber. Unlike natural rubber, known as latex, which comes directly from a rubber tree, silicone is not made using natural rubber, therefore known as a synthetic product.
What’s it made of?
Silicones are synthetic polymers made from silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. The bond between silicon and oxygen gives silicon its high-temperature resistance and flexibility. The polymer is mixed, forming a rigid rubber, resulting in a material with much longer durability than natural rubber. Quartz rock crystal derivatives have a minimum lifespan of 10 years.
What are the main differences compared to plastic?
This is one of the most received questions around here. Let’s look at the three main differences between plastic:
1| Silicon, one of the main elements of silicon, is an extremely abundant resource on our planet.
2| More durable than plastic and withstands extreme temperature fluctuations – from freezing cold to hot oven – without melting, cracking, or degrading. Reusable plastic containers can last for a few years if washed by hand, but they end up getting scratched, fogged, broken, and thus need to retire much sooner than similar items made from silicone overmolding that won’t fade or scratch.
3| More inert than plastic, which means it won’t eliminate chemicals for food or the planet. If disposed of in a landfill for incineration, unlike plastic, it is converted back into harmless, inorganic ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
4| The material is also resistant to odors and stains, making it a great suggestion for drinks. It’s easy to clean and hypoallergenic, with no pores to harbor bacteria, which makes it great for food and snack containers.
Why choose silicone over plastic?
With more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in our oceans, using less plastic and looking for smarter eco-friendly alternatives means contributing less to the growing volume of plastic disposed of in our environment. While better materials may be available in the future, silicone is so far one of the best choices for families looking to reduce their dependence on plastics. For the past 25 years, it’s been hard to dive without seeing garbage.
When plastic, an organic material made from oil and gas processing, is lost to the environment, it breaks down into micro-fragments that contaminate our ecosystems and oceans, as well as the animals that live there. The chemicals are then spread out. Also, as plastics are more likely to break down into small pieces, wildlife commonly mistakes the brightly colored pieces of garbage for food. The plastic “food” is poison to the animal’s systems and blocks its digestive tracts, often resulting in death.
Radicals will likely reject this idea and discourage the use of silicone because it is a man-made material that is not biodegradable, but we need to act today and not wait for ideal materials and a perfect solution. So, so far, we’ve stuck with silicone.
And today, even to avoid absorbents, we have collectors that are reusable and washable, if this is not a fantastic technology?
Silicone versus plastic? So we chose silicone!
We hope you left this post with the most accurate knowledge on the subject.