Silicone vs. Plastic: Everything You Need to Know

February 22, 2023

Source: New Africa/

Silicone and plastic are two popular materials used in various products, including food storage containers. While both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, making the right choice makes all the difference. Unfortunately, many folks are simply unaware of these differences and have a hard time determining which material best suits their needs. 

So, is silicone safe for food storage? Let’s explore the answer and go over the key differences between silicone and plastic and what you should consider when choosing between the two. We’ll also discuss the use of silicone ice cube trays and food storage containers and why silicone is the better choice for food storage.

What Is Silicone?

Silicone is a synthetic material that’s a sort of hybrid between synthetic polymer plastic and silicone rubber. It is a rubber-like material that is both flexible and durable. Silicone is used in various products, including kitchen utensils, medical devices and even construction materials. However, one of its most popular and well-known uses is in the manufacturing of food storage containers

Pros of Silicone

One of the primary advantages of silicone is its flexibility. Silicone bends and flexes without losing its shape, making it ideal for products like ice cube trays. Unlike plastic, silicone is not prone to cracking or breaking under pressure. This makes it more durable and long-lasting than hard plastic.

Silicone is also non-toxic and hypoallergenic, making it safe for use in a wide range of applications. It is heat-resistant and can withstand high temperatures without melting or degrading, making it ideal for baking and cooking. Silicone is widely used to make oven-safe molds and trays.

Another significant advantage of silicone is that it is more environmentally friendly than plastic. It is a more sustainable material because it can be recycled and has a longer lifespan. Silicone products are also less likely to release harmful chemicals into the environment, making them a safer choice for the planet.

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Cons of Silicone

While silicone has many advantages, it is not without its drawbacks. One of the primary disadvantages of silicone is that it is often more expensive than plastic. This is because silicone is more challenging to manufacture than plastic and is not as widely available. However, silicone lasts longer than plastic, making it a better long-term investment.

What Is Plastic?

Plastic is a synthetic material made from polymers. It is widely used in various products, including food containers, toys and electronics. There are many different types of plastic, each with its unique properties and applications.

Pros of Plastic

One of the primary advantages of plastic is that it is cheap and easy to manufacture. This makes it an ideal material for use in a wide range of products, from food containers to children’s toys. Plastic is also lightweight and durable, making it easy to transport and store. Plastic is relatively easy to clean. It is smooth and non-porous, which means that particles are less likely to get stuck on the surface. 

Cons of Plastic

single use plastics

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One of the primary disadvantages of plastic is that it is not environmentally friendly. Most types of plastic take hundreds of years to decompose, which means that they contribute to environmental pollution. Plastic can also release harmful chemicals when it is heated or exposed to sunlight, and these chemicals may harm people, wildlife and the planet. In addition, plastic is often prone to cracking or breaking under pressure. This means that it is not as durable as silicone and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Ways to Swap Plastic for Silicone

Silicone Ice Cube Trays

When it comes to making ice cubes, silicone is the perfect material. Silicone ice cube trays are flexible, which makes it easy to release the ice cubes. They also come in several shapes and sizes for those times when you want something a bit fancier than “normal” ice tubes. Silicone ice cube trays are easy to clean. They can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand and are less likely to retain odors or flavors from previous uses, unlike plastic ice cube trays.

Food Storage Containers

silicone food storage containers

When it comes to storing food, silicone food storage containers are the better choice. Silicone is non-toxic and does not contain harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates or PVC, which can leach into food and cause health problems. This makes it a safer material to use for food storage, especially for families with young children.

Closing Thoughts

Both silicone and plastic have their advantages and disadvantages. While plastic is cheaper and easier to manufacture, it is not as durable or environmentally friendly as silicone. When it comes to storing food, silicone is, by far, the better choice, as it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic and does not contain harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates or PVC. 

Silicone food storage containers are also more durable and hygienic than plastic containers. When choosing between silicone and plastic, consider the intended use of the product, the lifespan of the material and its environmental impact. Silicone is the one option that checks all of the boxes!