While many cosmetics bottles are made from PET or polypropylene plastics, the seal will often be made from silicone. That’s because silicone is flexible, which means that the seal isn’t compromised with movement. It’s also moisture resistant, so it maintains high levels of performance even if it comes into contact with fluids, lotions, gels, creams, and soaps. This can prevent products from leaking, and from exposing products to the air.
But is silicone an eco friendly choice for cosmetics packaging?
In terms of the environment, silicone is considered to be a hybrid material. This means that silicone is a much more environmentally friendly choice than many plastics, although its initial production does require the use of non-renewable resources.
Silicone is primarily made from silica; an oxide found in sand. Although sand is not an infinite resource, it is a plentiful resource, so it’s considered to be eco friendly. However, hydrocarbons derived from natural gas and oil are used to turn silica into silicone. Despite this, the long lasting nature of silicone- and its ability to be recycled- help to offset some of the concerns that arise from the use of non-renewable, finite resources.
Silicone is known for being remarkably durable and long lasting. As it demonstrates high resistance to changes in temperature, moisture, and ultraviolet light, silicone can last for many years and, although the material does not biodegrade, it can be recycled.
Previously, silicone had to be recycled through specialist schemes, which resulted in low recycling rates for this material. However, a number of curbside programs across the United States now accept silicone, and civic recycling services are constantly expanding the range of materials they collect and process. It is hoped that, with the continued roll out of domestic silicone recycling programs, silicone will become increasingly eco friendly, making it a responsible choice for cosmetics packaging.