More often than not, the environment is the last thing we think about when we purchase something. But that shouldn’t be the case – we should all start considering the impact of the products we buy to our ecology — even when they’re the smallest fashion accessories.
“We should all start considering
the impact of the products we
buy to our ecology.”
One of the most affordable and most common accessories these days are rubber and silicone wristbands and bracelets, used to promote events and brands or as a simple accent to an everyday outfit, among other purposes. Both materials are relatively safe to use, but are they truly eco-friendly?
Let’s take a look.
Silicone is a synthetic polymer created by adding carbon and/or oxygen to silicon. It can exist at solid, liquid, or gel states, and has multiple uses including household implements, industrial applications, and medical devices.
Rubber, on the other hand, is a polymeric substance made from the latex of certain plants or tress – which is called natural or latex rubber. Recycled rubber, as the name implies, is recycled from usually old rubber products, while synthesized rubber is made of polymers from petroleum products.
Silicone is approved by the Food and Drug administration as a food safe substance. This means that you can safely store food in silicone containers, without worrying about toxic substances. There are even silicone cookware and bakeware because the material has very high heat resistance.
Clean-up is relatively easy with silicone, as its surface is non-stick and also dishwasher safe. Silicone also has very low risk of scratching or fading, which means silicone products can maintain their original quality for longer. What’s more, silicone also breaks down easily and is a recyclable material.
All of these mean that bracelets and wristbands made from silicone are very safe to wear, as they are non-toxic and hardly trigger allergies. Quality-wise, they can last longer than other products, as they’re very convenient to clean and colors don’t fade easily. And because silicone’s carbon and/or oxygen content makes it easier to break down, recycling becomes much easier, whether in small or large scale capacities.
Rubber, whether natural or recycled, is highly sustainable. The rubber tree, in particular, is an ecologically sustainable crop – manufacturers “wound” the tree with an incision on its outer surface to collect the latex, which in fact is part of the tree’s healing process, so the resource is highly renewable. And because it’s a tree, it also contributes a healthier balance of gases in the atmosphere. Synthetic rubber, on the other hand, is not as environmentally friendly, as their polymer sources are usually non-renewable.
Either way, rubber is highly useful in many applications, especially in home and industrial settings. Rubber is also ubiquitous in the automotive industry for its use in car tires, window seals, windshield wipers, and more. Rubber’s stretchable quality also makes it valuable in adhesives, while its gas impermeability makes it ideal for balloons, hoses, and balls. Lastly, because it’s highly waterproof, rubber is used in rainwear, diving gear, and medical equipment and materials like flexible tubes.
Bracelets and wristbands made from rubber are safe to wear, unless you have a latex allergy. They can last long with proper care, as long as you dry the material properly after washing. Repurposing is easy with rubber bracelets as they can be cut, bent, stitched, and glued even with simple equipment and materials. However, actual recycling is better left to properly equipped industrial facilities. Lastly, if natural rubber is used, then rubber bracelets can degrade naturally; those made from synthetic rubber will not or will take longer to decompose.
“Considering this information,
silicone bracelets and wristbands
are more eco-friendly than their
Considering all this information, silicone bracelets and wristbands are more eco-friendly than their rubber counterparts. However, with proper use, handling, and disposal, both can be used for longer and minimize harm to the environment.
Do you where silicone or rubber bracelets and wristbands?
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