Silicone is a polymer that may be used in various applications.
Silicone’s heat-resistant qualities make it a stable option in various industries, including in medical, culinary, and industrial fields, compared to plastic, one of the planet’s most persistent pollutants.
Does silicone cause the same difficulties as plastic when it comes to environmental deterioration? Is silicone a recyclable material, or is it durable?
Can You Recycle Silicone?
Silicone may be recycled several times without sacrificing much of its structural integrity. Because of this, silicone recycling is usually viewed as downcycling.
With each successive usage, its quality declines a little bit more quickly.
Aside from being used in industrial lubricants, and as material for playgrounds, most reclaimed silicone is turned into an oil that may be utilized in various other applications.
Silicone recycling, according to EarthHero, almost invariably results in a lower-quality product.
Silicone will take millennia to decompose if left unattended in a landfill. Therefore, to recycle silicone correctly, you must transport it to a professional business.
This leads to many people tossing out silicone at the end of its usefulness (where it will sit without breaking down for centuries).
Silicone may be downcycled into an oil that can be utilized as an industrial lubricant, playground mulch, or another lower-quality product when properly recycled or given to a company’s take-back program.
When it comes to modern living, silicone is one of the essential elements. Because of this, it might be considered one of those materials that we utilize without even realizing it.
Silicone’s importance and popularity can be attributed to several factors.
For starters, it’s incredibly durable and can survive even the most adverse environmental factors. Extreme heat is one of these circumstances.
Silicone is one of the most heat-resistant materials. Silicone can tolerate up to 305°C (an extremely high temperature by any standard).
In addition, silicone is considered highly sanitary, making it an ideal material for medical implants. Furthermore, the lack of porosity of silicone rubber is well-known.
There are several benefits to using silicone, but what happens when you don’t need it? This might be because it has been in use for a long time and no longer serves the function you purchased it for.
Alternatively, it might be that the device has been harmed or has acquired problems. Nonetheless, you begin to consider ways to get rid of it.
If you’re looking for a way to eliminate silicone, recycling is a solution that springs to mind right away. The increased awareness of environmental concerns has led to increased recycling.
However, it is a fact that you can not recycle all things. This is significant because of the components and materials that went into their construction.
Silicone may be recycled, however. In fact, it can be recycled numerous times after being used. This is because recycling is a simple operation.
Other materials require more complicated industrial and chemical procedures, but this one doesn’t.
If you’ve got the necessary equipment, you can do your domestic silicone recycling directly from your own house. You don’t have to send your old silicone to a factory because you can do it yourself.
Is Silicone Better Than Plastic?
Because it can be recycled or reused, silicone is a more environmentally responsible alternative for materials. Silicone is easy to recycle because of its low melting point.
Even if a silicone object melts and is no longer functional, it may be remelted and molded into another object with relative ease.
Recycling is also incredibly cost-effective because of the excellent characteristics that make this material so great!
Other polymers that are not recyclable—including PVC plasticized by phthalates that generate toxic fumes when burned—need more energy to produce than silicone.
Other plasticizers like BPA, present in polycarbonate water, are regulated by the FDA in food packaging.
Unlike paper or glass, silicone will not decompose. Instead, it degrades over a long period.
Even though silicone has a long shelf life, which is problematic in many respects, it is nevertheless seen as a greener alternative to plastic.
Also read: Can Bamboo be Recycled?
Is Silicone Safe for the Environment?
Although silicone is not biodegradable, this does not mean that the substance is unfriendly to the environment.
Although silicone is non-biodegradable, it is not very damaging to the environment in large quantities.
So, although it does not directly benefit the environment, depending on perception, it does not cause harm, at least not directly.
Silicone decomposes far more slowly than other materials, such as plastic.
One of the most durable and long-lasting materials on the planet is silicone. Silicone is known for its resistance to severe temperatures.
Additionally, silicone is unaffected by a variety of chemical and biological exposures. Silicone, for example, is known to remain stable even when exposed to light.
Although it was exposed to saltwater conditions, it did not degrade. It is pretty difficult for it to break down on its own.
Thus it needs a lot of external pressure to break down. As far as environmental concerns go, this may be a positive thing.
This material will not degrade, which means that it will not release its harmful substance into the environment, where it might damage humans and wildlife and the greater natural ecosystem.
In addition, many other chemical-based products have the potential to be poisonous, which is a significant problem. For this reason, toxicity levels in many of these materials are considerable.
Harmful substances begin to emerge from these materials and goods, especially after usage. In most cases, human beings who come into contact with these chemicals will suffer grave health consequences.
Also read: How to Dispose of Solar Panels?
Is It Possible to Reuse Silicone?
There are a few techniques to recycle silicone, even though it is difficult. Following a few simple procedures, you may recycle used silicone at home.
Add new fresh silicon obtained in powder or liquid form after cutting or grinding old silicone. When recycling silicone, it’s essential to know what sort of silicone you’re dealing with.
When this process is completed, recycled products will have part or all of their old silicone mixed in with them. Playground mulch, for example, can be made of silicone, which is a durable substance.
Alternatively, you may chop it up and then put it out on the ground near the playground. As an alternative, you might use it to make oven mitts or trivets to save your stovetop from getting scorched by pots and pans.
Using silicone around a fireplace may prevent sparks from falling to the floor and keep unclean things contained. Silicone is extremely easy to clean and will not stain.
At-Home Recycling of Silicone Rubber May Not Be the Best Option
Recycling silicone correctly needs the services of professionals. Silicone goods are typically not accepted for recycling by local garbage collection organizations.
If you want to recycle silicone, you’ll need to shatter or grind up your silicone item. Some of the chemicals used in the recycling process may be combined with other substances and heated to high temperatures.
So, many people will tell you to leave it to the professionals, and they’d be right.
Because of its low biodegradability, silicone is often thrown away in landfills, where it is less damaging than plastic but still does not disintegrate.
It must also be downcycled (used to make a lesser product like playground mulch), so it isn’t indefinitely recyclable.
Stainless steel and glass are preferred for food storage, and you can use silicone instead of plastic. Using it as a food storage bag lid or even a mat for children’s meals is a terrific use for it!
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