As we are in the early stages of a societal shift away from plastics, silicone is a great option to get you started toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle. However, silicone is not the patron saint of eco-friendly materials like many people claim it to be. One of the greatest appeals of silicone is that it lasts for a long time without degrading, making it a very durable material. Depending on how long you use a silicone product, it could last a lifetime and be reused again and again. So that is why we at Atelier Keen make our products in gender neutral colours and in timeless design so you can always use them for all your children, despite gender. And you can pass them on to friends after your children have outgrown them because they will basically be like new.
And unlike plastic, silicone does not contain harmful toxins such as BPA, BPS, phthalates or microplastics and is easy to clean. Additionally, silicone is known to be hypoallergenic and has no open pores that can attract bacteria. It is also heat-resistant and can withstand high temperatures, making it a great choice for baby products that require sterilisation. That is why it´s now widely used for baby products. It is really a unique material and according to us, nothing beats silicone!
But you must be familiar to silicone products not realizing that they are silicone. You’re guaranteed to own at least a few products.....from protective phone cases to various bakeware and cookware products like spatulas, oven mitts, baking sheets and so on. In the medical field, silicone can be found in implants, catheters, contact lenses, bandages and a variety of other things.
In the US, silicone is food-grade approved by the FDA and Health Canada states: "There are no known health hazards associated with the use of silicone cookware. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages or produce any hazardous fumes". Read here for more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/household-products/safe-use-cookware.html#si
What is silicone made of and how is it produced?
To give you a bit of science, the easiest way to explain what silicone is, is that it is a rubber-like material made from silica — a substance found in sand. But instead of a carbon backbone like plastic, it has a backbone of silicon and oxygen. But to claim that it is made of sand is a common misconception. It's not entirely correct but it´s the easy way to explain it. And if you want to nerd it down and get more technical, below is the longer "sciency" explanation.
Silicon vs Silica vs Silicone
Silicone, also known as polysiloxane, is derived from silica, a natural substance found in sand but the production of it makes it a human-made synthetic material. So you are wondering how this procedure is done and by now you should start to notice that we are mentioning silicone, silicon and silica. It´s not a spelling error and don´t give up. We´ll get you through this 😊!
Heating process turns silica into silicon then into silicone
Silicone itself is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and silicon. The process of making silicone starts with silica which is the raw material that goes into silicone. Silicon is made when silica is heated with carbon at a very high temperature in a special industrial furnace. In short terms, you can say that the silicone-making process involves extracting silicon from silica and passing it through hydrocarbons. Glad we got that out of the way!
Silicon Valley or Silicone Valley?
By now you should know that there is a difference between silicone and silicon. We should also tell you that it’s definitely Silicon Valley and not “Silicone Valley”. In case you were curious. It´s so often that people make this seemingly trivial error. The name Silicon Valley was coined in the 1950's when industry in Southern Bay Area transitioned from growing peaches and pears to computer chips. Those silicon chips are made from? You guessed it, sand!
High quality silicone
Just like with any other material or purchase you make….there are different degrees of quality in everything and so is the same with silicone products. If you are going to use silicone, be sure it is high quality and that it doesn´t contain any fillers or have a weird taste or smell. We have chosen to work with 100% food grade silicone, without any fillers.
"The pinch test"
A great way to check if the product is purely silicone or if it has any kind of chemical filling is to do the “pinch test”. Pinch or twist the product – if it changes to a whiteish colour, then it most likely has plastic fillers in it and is not 100% pure silicone.
Boy, this was a long blog post 😊. Hope you have enjoyed your reading!