ECOlunchbox Why Silicone?
Silicone + People and Planet
When it comes to offering a highly durable and reusable food container that doesn’t leak and doesn’t contain the estrogen-mimicking chemicals commonly found in plastics, ECOlunchbox believe that silicone is currently the best answer.
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.
When it comes to the environment, silicone is highly durable and more ocean friendly than plastic.
Plastics manufacturers have come under fire from consumers, scientists and regulators concerned about the many toxins used in plastics. Increasingly, plastic products are labelled BPA-free and consumers sometimes think these plastics are safe. Unfortunately, BPA-free plastics aren’t helpful when it comes to human health or environmental woes. Researchers have determined that plastics manufacturers have removed BPA in order to label their products BPA-free and added instead 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. Silicone, which is made from silica found in sand, is much longer lasting than plastic in the environment as well as while being used in products. Silicone 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 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.”
One piece of silicone can be used for much longer than a similar piece of plastic.
Silicone resists oxidative deterioration (normal aging) for decades on end. In fact, studies have shown that silicones thrive on challenges, including exposure to extreme heat and cold, harsh chemicals, sterilization, rain, snow, salt spray, ultraviolet radiation, ozone and acid rain, just to name a few.
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.”
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.
When plastic, an organic material made from petroleum, is lost in the environment, it breaks down into micro-fragments which contaminate our lands and oceans as well as the animals living there. The estrogen-mimicking chemicals are then spread throughout the ecosystems, including oceans and land masses.
Additionally, because plastics are more prone to breaking down into little bits, wildlife often mistakes the bright colorful bits of plastic 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 odour 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 ECOlunchbox's Blue Water Bento collection, does not change color when twisted.