It’s no surprise that we’re BIG fans of silicone over here. We use silicone in nearly every Food Huggers® reusable food saving design. Silicone is the perfect material for us for many reasons. The first reason we selected silicone was for how well it can adapt and stretch to snugly seal the INFINITE variety of fruit, veggie, bowl and container shapes out there. Having a great seal is crucial to extending the longevity of fresh foods so we needed a material that could adapt to fit whatever you’ve got in the fridge.
Silicone is also ideal for having anti-microbial properties and being 100% BPA and phthalate free. We wanted a material that would protect your fresh foods as safely as possible.
Silicone is also extremely stable (unlike plastics that can break down into ingestible micros plastics). This stability makes it well suited for storing food, cooking, freezing and sous vide.
In short, silicone was our obvious choice because it is stable, stretchy, and food safe.
Replacing Single Use Plastic With Silicone
The destructive impact of single use plastic is something most people are now aware of. Everyone from governments to corporations to individual families are looking for ways to reduce single use plastics. The elimination of plastic bottles, plastic film, plastic bags, plastic straws and other single use disposable items can lift a significant weight off the planet.
One of the alternatives to these plastics are reusable silicone products. High quality reusable alternatives like Food Huggers can replace hundreds or even thousands of disposable plastic pieces over years of use. This requires less industrial production of disposable products on repeat and less garbage in our landfills and eventually in our oceans as well.
Kicking Plastic Out of the Kitchen Completely.
As consumers have been made aware of the dangers of plastic in kitchen and food storage products through studies around BPA, BPS, phthalates, and microplastics (just to name a few), even “non disposable” plastics are being shown to be bad for our health, our food, and the planet as well.
Silicone is a fantastic material for food storage and kitchen tools because it is durable, dishwasher safe and it remains stable in both hot and cold temperatures. (oven safe, microwave safe, and freezer safe)
What is Silicone?
Think about sand. Almost every kind of sand contains silica, which is a form of silicon–the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust! The form of silicon we’re talking about today, silicone (with an “e”), is a man-made polymer created from silicon, oxygen, and other elements (usually carbon and hydrogen). This polymer has a wide variety of properties. It can be a liquid, gel, hard, soft, or even rubber-like.
Unlike plastics, silicone has a high resistance to temperature, low reactivity with chemicals, doesn’t support microbiological growth, repels water, and is resistant to ultraviolet (UV light). All of this makes silicone easy to clean, perfect for cooking (microwaves too!), great for hospitals, and a strong overall alternative to plastics.
Is Silicone Safe?
In 1979, the US Food and Drug Administration determined that silicon dioxide, the raw material that goes into silicone products, was safe for food-grade applications. Health Canada also states: “There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.”
This is based off the concept that silicone’s base material, silica, does not contain the same types of chemicals that are found in petroleum processed plastics. Although we welcome additional research into potentially overlooked chemicals in silicone, what we do know is that hormone disrupting chemicals found in plastics, like BPA and BPS, are not found in silicone.
Is All Silicone the Same?
No. Silicone powders have different chemical compounds as well as uses compared to the rubber-like silicone used in kitchen tools. When silicone is included in cosmetics and beauty products it could be inhaled or ingested. There has been some concern about the long term effects of regularly inhaling or ingesting silicone powders that might be in a beauty or cosmetics product. We are not experts in the properties of silicone powders but since all our products are nice big solid pieces, we are not worried about any inhaling or ingesting issues.
Silicone can be recycled multiple times. However, silicone usually has to be sent to a specialized recycling company and is not a part of any usual curbside recycling programs. Because of this, some might simply throw away silicone at the end of its life (where it will sit without breaking down for centuries.) Please do not do that. When recycled, or sent to our company’s take-back program, silicone can be downcycled into crumbs that can be used as playground mulch, cushioning, or another second life products. For information on our take-back program please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compared to plastic, a silicone product will last a good deal longer before it’s unusable.Not only does this durability mean that you’ll cut down on replacing (and landfilling) your plastic products by switching to silicone, you can feel confident knowing that silicone won’t break down and leach chemicals into your food like its plastic counterpart.
In the landfill (and in our waterways)
Because silicone is so durable, it doesn’t easily biodegrade or decompose. While normal plastics break down into dangerous microplastic pieces that can ingested by wildlife and ocean life, silicone doesn’t break down much at all (it’s that good!). While this may sound worse, plastic activists say it’s actually better for the environment, as large silicone pieces are less likely to get caught in fish bellies, which can cause a multitude of health problems in marine life as well as in humans that consume them down the line.
We’re so glad that you’re interested in the thinking that went behind our material choices and we absolutely invite you to reach out to us with any questions you might have. Silicone has so many great properties; flexibility, durability, food safety, temperature and UV stability as well as its anti-microbial properties. If you are looking to reduce the amount of waste in your kitchen, reusable silicone products are a great choice. If you have any concerns or questions in addition to the information here. Please do not hesitate to let us know. You can always reach us at email@example.com
If you’re looking for more waste reduction habits, check out our article: Easy Plastic-Free Kitchen Tips.