Recycling Mystery: Silicone Bracelets
The colored wristband, the go-to fashion accessory of the 2000s. Whether you wore one to support a cause, you received it as a club VIP (or proof that you could legally drink) or it’s the last remnant of your Fitbit, you likely have some of these that you no longer wear.
Also known as gel bracelets, these wristbands are made of silicone, a polymer similar to rubber. While silicone is a popular material used for everything from sealants to cookware to contact lenses, you’re going to have a tough time finding a recycler for these bracelets.
Durability as a Hindrance
Although silicone has many properties of plastic, it’s technically considered part of the rubber family and produced through a different process than typical plastics. The process involves extracting silicon and molding it into a polymer using hydrocarbons instead of carbon. This means the product is nearly indestructible, but it also won’t biodegrade or decompose. Because it’s not manufactured like a plastic, you can’t simply recycle it at the curb even if your program accepts all sorts of plastics.
Bracelet Reuse Options
With no feasible recycling option, it’s time to get creative with reusing your old wristbands around the house. Here are a few options:
- Keep them in the kitchen drawer and when you have trouble opening a jar, wrap the bracelet around the lid (the silicone will give you a better grip)
- Use the bracelets to gather loose cords and cables inside the house or secure small trees to posts in your yard
- Use them to seal leaks in hoses and pipesIn other words, think of these silicone bracelets as a larger and more durable rubber band. Luckily, they won’t take up much space when you store them for future use.
And maybe next time you’re offered one to support a cause, you’ll just say no to the silicone wristband.