Certainly, silicone is indisputably safer for human health than plastic, which is a petroleum-based material commonly containing estrogen-mimicking chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA). Doctors, scientists and regulators point to a wide array of health problems stemming from BPA and other environmental toxins that are endocrine disruptors.
Plastics manufacturers have come under fire from consumers and regulators who are upset at the toxins used in plastics. Increasingly, plastic products are labelled BPA-free. But the BPA-free plastics aren’t a panacea. What consumer advocates are now learning is that when the plastic manufacturers removed the BPA in order to label their products BPA-free, they instead add a new chemical called BPS (bisphenol substitute) that’s believed to be more toxic than BPA.
When it comes to the environment, silicone is highly durable and more ocean friendly than plastic. Firstly, silicone is much longer lasting than plastic and endures extreme fluctuations in temperatures - from very cold to oven hot - without melting, cracking or otherwise degrading.
By using silicone, families can dramatically reduce their dependence on plastics - both single use as well as reusable plastic containers which get scratched, foggy, broken and need to be retired from use much sooner than similar items made from silicone. With more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, using less plastic means contributing less to this mounting mass of plastics lost in our environment and poisoning our wildlife.
“I really speak for the ocean. If we continue business as usual, we’re in real trouble,” said world-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle who is the author of “The World is Blue: How our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One” and the impetus for a new Netflix documentary. “In the last 25 years, I haven’t been diving anywhere, even 2 miles under the sea, without seeing some form of our trash, a lot of it plastic.”
Consumer advocate Debra Lynn Dadd conducted her own research into silicone rubbers and says silicone “is not toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, it is not hazardous waste, and while it is not biodegradable, it can be recycled after a lifetime of use.”
Civic recycling services are expanding the range of materials they collect every year, but if you can’t find a local spot to recycle your silicone lid, then we’ll take it back and make sure it gets recycled on your behalf.
If disposed of at a landfill for incineration, the silicone (unlike plastic) is converted back into inorganic, harmless ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
Additionally, because plastics are more prone to breaking down into little bits, wildlife often mistakes the bright colorful bits of plastic trash for food. The plastic “food” is poison and blocks their digestive systems, often resulting in death.
Still curious about the benefits of silicone as compared to plastics? Silicone is also odor and stain resistant. It’s hygienic and hypoallergenic with no open pores to harbor bacteria making it great for food containers and lunchware. It does not fade or scratch.
The key to being a careful consumer is to only buy high-quality silicone that’s food safe. Not all silicone is created equal. To reduce costs, some manufacturers add fillers to the product. Luckily there is a simple way to tell: pinch and twist a flat surface on the item. If white shows through, the product contains filler. Pure silicone, like the lids used in our Blue Water Bento collection, does not change color when twisted.