Is Silicone Plastic?
Regardless of how much green marketing claims that silicone is not a plastic, silicone is still considered a plastic by the plastic industry.
What is Silicone? Is It Plastic?
Simply put, yes, silicone is considered plastic. Regardless of how much green marketing claims that silicone is not a plastic, silicone is still considered a plastic by the plastic industry.
Silicone and plastic have very similar physical properties, it can be molded or formed and be softened or hardened into nearly anything. The difference is that silicone is more temperature resistant, durable, and less reactant to substances compared to most plastics. However, what makes silicone popular in kitchen appliances is that silicone is easy-to-clean, non-stick, and non-staining.
Silicone is a hybrid between a synthetic rubber and a synthetic plastic polymer. It is a mix of chemical additives that is extracted from fossil fuels. The main difference between silicone and carbon-based plastics is that silicones contain silicon.
It is crucial to understand the difference between the 3 different related substances:
Silica: Also known as silicon dioxide. It is the raw material that is used to create silicone resins. Beach sand and quartz are practically pure silica. So when people claim silicone to be made of sand, it is not incorrect, just not the whole truth.
Silicon: It is the base element of silica. Silicon is not typically found in nature. Carbon and silica must be heated together at very high temperatures in an industrial furnace.
Silicone: Also known as siloxane. Silicone is made through the combination of silicon and fossil fuel. Silicone quality can vary greatly depending on the purification process.
Is It Recyclable?
Silicone has a low recycling rate.
Similar to single-use plastics, silicone is very persistent in our environment and cannot degrade or decompose for thousands of years. Furthermore, even though silicones are recyclable, there is a low chance that your local municipal recycling program provides that service. You would probably have to go to a specialized private recycling facility that would then be able to down-cycle the silicone into oil used as lubricants for industrial machines.
Boomi's Tips On Silicone Use:
Silicone is still a better alternative to single-use plastics since it is reusable and therefore will create less total waste. However, you should try to avoid silicone products and find better alternatives when possible. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel tools are excellent choices for cooking, baking, and storing.
Silicone is also a better option to Teflon, but only opt for silicone if there is no other option.
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