We are all diligently trying to reduce our plastic waste, right? I personally don't ever need to watch another video of a straw being pulled out of a sea turtles nose or be given nightmares by pictures of dead marine life with bellies full of six pack rings and bottle caps. I get it. Plastic is choking our oceans, filling our landfills, and harming our planet. Not only does it not break down for centuries, it does break into particles from chips to microplastics that easily make it into the food chain; and I don't just mean the animal food chain. In a recent study at the University of Arizona, researchers examined 47 samples from deceased people’s organs - including lungs, livers, spleens, and kidneys - and found that every organ sample contained traces of plastic. Plastics contain BPA, BPS, and phthalates – all of which have an impact on our health.
Plastics are everywhere in our modern world; in our homes, our clothing, and worst of all, our kitchens.
Plastic storage containers, plastic cooking utensils, plastic wraps and bags sort of define the modern kitchen. So how can we give it up? I'm trying, I really am, but I still have to put the leftovers away, still need something to scrape the batter from the bowl. How can I reduce the plastic that I use every single day?
Enter from stage left, SILICONE. Lately, silicone is the next best thing in kitchen cool. Nothing sticks to it, it can withstand high heat or freezing, and it seems to last nearly forever without chips coming off of the large or microscopic variety. We're saved! But are we? What is silicone?
The main ingredient of sand is silica, which is a form of silicon–the second most abundant element on Earth. Silicone is a man-made polymer created from silicon, oxygen, and other elements (usually carbon and hydrogen). This polymer has a wide variety of properties and can be a liquid, gel, hard, soft, or even rubber-like. Plastics are petroleum based and crude oil, is a non-renewable resource, meaning that when it’s gone, there will be no new raw plastics. Silicon, is way more abundant (although not “unlimited”). To turn silica into silicone, the silicon must be extracted and processed with hydrocarbons to create the polymer. Those hydrocarbons in silicone come from non-renewable resources like oil and natural gas. This makes silicone a hybrid material, meaning that it’s better than plastic in terms of resource extraction, but still not as naturally renewable, and is not biodegradable.
So is it really a better alternative? Yes! First of all it's been shown to have no compounds that are hazardous to health in multiple studies. Secondly, it's incredibly durable. Because it's not easily damaged by heat, cold, or pressure. you’ll cut down on replacing your stuff and you needn't worry that it will break down and leach chemicals into your food like its plastic counterpart. Of course, silicone products do end up in the landfill eventually where they will last about as long as plastic. But think of how much single use plastic wrap, or bags, or plastic utensils won't. In a world where we must strive for progress, not perfection, silicone wins hands down.
Article written by contributor: Patricia Rodriguez
Plastic-Free Living Blog by Me.Mother Earth may contain testimonials or reviews by contributor writers. These testimonials reflect the real life experiences and opinions of such users. However, the experiences are personal to those particular users, and may not necessarily be representative of all users of our products and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all users will have the same experiences.
Me.Mother Earth was created by Amanda Runkle and Alberto Gomes who aren’t experts, just two Mother Earth loving humans who share their plastic-free tips and advice with the help of contributor writers. The various DIY & zero waste methods, suggestions, and tutorials on Me.Mother Earth are not error proof, they’re merely what worked for Amanda and Alberto along the way. Extra precautions and additional research are always advised and Me.Mother Earth cannot be held responsible for your personal health or the outcomes from any of the articles shared on our Blog.