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Plastic-Free: Why Silicone Is The Best Material For Kids' Toys

December 21, 2021 3 min read

Why silicone is the best material for kid's toys.

When it comes to placemats, tableware and toys for kids, parents are increasingly looking for plastic alternatives. Silicone is often referred to as the ‘new plastic’. But, this is rather misleading since silicone is an eco-friendly material that shares none of the damaging properties that plastic does. Unlike plastic, silicone is natural, safe and sustainable. Let me explain…

What is silicone?

Silicone is derived from silica, a natural substance found in sand. Since sand is the second most abundant element found in the earth’s crust, it’s a good starting point for a sustainable material. The silica is then processed with oxygen (to form the element silicon (Si)), hydrogen and carbon to create a non-toxic polymer. In contrast, plastic is made from crude oil, a non-renewable resource, and contains harmful toxins such as bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS).

Why choose silicone?

Silicone’s base material, silica, doesn’t contain the same chemicals found in petroleum-based plastics and has been deemed safe since the 1970s. Unlike plastic, silicone does not contain harmful toxins such as BPA, BPS, phthalates or microplastics. That’s why it’s now widely used for cookware, baby goods, children’s tableware and medical supplies.

Compared with plastic, silicone is also the most durable option. It can withstand high heat, freezing cold and immense pressure, making it a robust choice for child’s play!

Parents like plastic because it’s easy to keep clean, but so is silicone! In fact, silicone is non-porous which means it’s a hypoallergenic material that’s waterproof and can’t harbour germs. This explains why it’s so popular in the medical industry.

Is all silicone equal?

Like most materials, there are degrees of quality when it comes to silicone. Low grade silicone will often contain petrochemicals or plastic ‘fillers’ that counteract the benefits of silicone. We recommend you only use silicone that is certified as being ‘food grade’ or higher. These grades involve stringent processing to eliminate contaminants. Some other terms you may come across include ‘LFGB silicone’, ‘premium grade silicone’ and ‘medical grade silicone’.  At Little Change Creators, we opt for premium grade silicone which has the same base composition as glass: silica, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. We feel this is the safest option available at an affordable price point for parents.

Can silicone be recycled?

Silicone can be recycled multiple times, which gives it another advantage over many plastics. However, at present, many council facilities don’t offer this service. This is likely to change as more and more products are made from silicone. In the meantime, Little Change Creators encourages users to repurpose or donate unwanted silicone colouring mats or return them to us for appropriate recycling. When properly recycled, silicone can be transformed into rubberised products such asplayground mats, roadbases and sports surfaces.

Is silicone biodegradable?

Silicone is not biodegradable, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. You see, when plastics decompose, they often emit microplastic pollution which is harmful to our wildlife and marine life. So, while silicone won’t decompose, it also won’t get caught in the bellies of birds and sea creatures!

By choosing silicone for our products, we aim to reduce the negative impact on our planet by making toys and gifts that can be reused again and again. Not only does this create less waste in our environment, it also produces less manufacturing pollution: a win-win for people and our planet. 

Is silicone better than plastic?

There are pros and cons with all materials but, as far as we can tell, silicone offers many benefits over plastic. To summarise, quality silicone is;

  • Non-toxic and odourless – it contains no chemical nasties.
  • Made from an abundant natural resource.
  • Is highly durable in hot and cold temperatures.
  • Lightweight and flexible for portability.
  • Kinder to the environment – in waste-reduction and manufacturing.
  • Hygienic and easy to clean.
  • Recyclable and non-hazardous waste.

Final thoughts…

We hope this helps you to understand why Little Change Creators has chosen silicone to make its children’s products. As parents ourselves, we think kids deserve better materials for their health and their environment.

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