In 1950 1.5 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide. We now produce 300 million tonnes each year. And that number is set to keep on getting bigger. There is also the rising concern about the safety of some plastics and the chemicals that can leach out of them; either into our food of the earth if they reach landfill.
As a result of these alarming facts, many of us have decided to try and live with less plastic we've needed to find a material to replace it with. That's where stainless steel comes in.
It's a really a fantastic material. It will last for years, is 100% recyclable and non-toxic, so if it does end up in landfill it won't pollute the soil like plastic does.
Our range of reusable lunchware, cups and bottles is 100% food grade non-magnetic stainless steel (bar a couple of silicone seals - more about that later).
Different grades of stainless steel have slightly different compositions.
*The Elephant Box is made from grade 18/8
*Our other lunch boxes and snack pots are made from grade 204cu
*The products made in India use steel sourced from the Steel Authority of India,
*Our cups and bottle are made from grade 18/8 which is also known as 304. These use Chinese steel.
Stainless steel is a metal alloy, made up of steel mixed with elements such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminium, and carbon. Iron mixed with carbon to produce steel is the main component of stainless steel. Chromium is added to make it resistant to rust
Stainless steel is made up of:
25% Old scrap such as end of life products
35% New scrap which is returning from production
40% New raw materials added
This means that stainless steel is already 60% recycled material.
We use food grade silicone as a seal in our leakproof canister and our water bottles. Broadly speaking silicone is a plastic. But one that is considered pretty inert and stable (although testing to date has been fairly limited), meaning it will not react with or leach harmful substances into food. It is BPA and Phthalate free.
Silicone is made with a backbone of silicon (note - no 'e') whereas other plastics are made with a backbone of carbon.
Silicon is a natural element found in silica and is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust. To make silicone, silicon is extracted from silica.
At the moment we haven't found a better material to use for creating a liquid-tight seal and consider that the benefits of being able to take water with you in a bottle (or food in a leakproof canister) with a small amount of silicone in it outweighs the massive issue of the damage that the single-use plastic bottle causes.
While it is not biodegradable, it can be recycled after a lifetime of use. Use sparingly …..
Aluminium is an alternative to plastic. However, it is no stranger to the safety debate due to the link to Alzheimer’s. Most aluminium water bottles contain an interior plastic coating to protect the contents from exposure, but this leaves you with a plastic bottle! Plus the coating can degrade over time, particularly if your bottle gets dented. Stainless steel may be marginally heavier but it’s also that bit tougher than aluminium and therefore less prone to scratches and dents. Aluminium is however 100% recyclable.
New research raises concerns that BPA (bisphenol A) free plastic products release releases hazardous compounds with water and tear. Plus, when your container breaks - which it will, recycling opportunities are limited (only 49% of councils offer recycling collection for hard plastics) and landfill is probably it's final destination.