Could silicone be used to replace single use plastics?

Anyone concerned about pollution and the state of the environment will have thought about single use plastic and its possible replacements. Bags and food containers are incredibly handy at times; however, they come with a high environmental cost and have a detrimental effect on wildlife and water systems.

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Natural sources

Silicone has been put forward as a replacement for single use plastics, with devotees pointing to the natural credentials of silicone, which can be derived from sand. With sophisticated silicone moulding, all kinds of flexible, waterproof, stretchy and versatile items can be made in a range of colours and styles. If the silicone version can be used many times, this has environmental advantages. A solution to this needs to be found, as the EU has just voted to ban single use plastics – such as cotton buds, straws, stirrers and cutlery – in all member states by the year 2021. The amount of plastic waste generated by Europeans currently stands at 25 million tonnes.

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More research

Advocates of living without using plastics say that while silicone has many advantages, more research needs to be conducted into the long-term effects of using it. Some experts say that silicone is not a completely different solution to plastic, as the substance is a kind of hybrid that lies between synthetic polymers and synthetic rubber.

Silicone is widely viewed as a safe and hygienic substance, although some studies have indicated that it can transfer small quantities of chemicals – particularly to fatty substances – over time. More research is required to clarify this; however, silicone has been shown to be extremely useful in a number of applications, including seals, gaskets and hoses.

Silicone can be shaped and moulded in an infinite variety of ways, which means that its possibilities for industrial or commercial use are almost endless. If you want to learn more about the potential of silicone moulding, contact a leader in the field such as for help and advice.

Silicone is one of the most versatile materials around today. Flexible and durable, this substance has a wide array of applications and may well prove to be highly useful and adaptable when it comes to limiting the prevalence of single use plastics. Reusable containers or bags made from silicon offer many possibilities.