Of all the alternatives to plastic, silicone is the most similar to it. Composed of silicon, oxygen and hydrogen, the silicone is flexible and resistant, making it the ideal candidate to replace plastic for teats, bottle teats or feminine hygiene products like the menstrual cup.
The advantages of silicone rubber (ยาง ซิ ลิ โคน, which is the term in Thai), if it is of high quality, are numerous. However, it is important to be well informed about it.
Why Silicone Is Not Biodegradable?
The term “biodegradable” consists of 2 concepts: “organic” (referring to life) and “degradable” (which can turn into a simpler substance). Biodegradable material is, therefore, a material which decomposes quickly under the action of living organisms and which disappears quickly in the environment by converting into simple molecules usable by plants.
This is what happens with a banana peel if you bury it for a few weeks, for example. However, this is not the case with silicone. If you throw your menstrual cup in compost or if you bury it in your garden, it would take decades to decompose. In addition, it will never return to nature like a banana peel.
Therefore, silicone cannot be said to be biodegradable. This does not prevent him from having many other qualities.
Why Is Silicone A Good Plastic Alternative?
For applications where it is not possible to use a greener material, silicone is a better option than plastic for the following reasons:
- It is safer for the planet and human health: it does not release any harmful substance in nature.
- It avoids the use of disposable products: the use of a menstrual cup avoids the use of hundreds of sanitary napkins and tampons.
- It is much more durable than plastic: it supports very well the rays of the sun, the salinity of the water, the high temperatures.
- It does not emit toxic gases during its incineration: if it ends up in an incinerator, it produces only silicon, carbon dioxide and water vapor, unlike plastic which emits several toxic gases.
- If it is of high quality, silicone is the least worst of the alternatives to plastic. But there are much greener alternatives.