Popularity and Convenience!
Silicone has been making a rise in the Cannabis Industry lately and for plenty of reasons that we will be going over here. While most are good things, we're also The Honest Headshop so we will also be going over the bad things about Silicone that we've personally experienced and inform you so that and you can make your choice! Silicone's convenience is un-matched by the basic glass beaker or straight tubes when it comes to mobility and durability but other factors like Environmental Impact and a short lifespan may have you veer away from this Silicon and Oxygen mashup of a Material as we dive into some Silicone knowledge, skip to the bottom if you just want the summary!
What is Silicone and Why Can You Smoke Out of it?
A process of combining Silicon and Oxygen together is what creates the material that is Silicone. Silicon is actually the highest abundant Element on Earth next to Oxygen, so it's kind of funny that some of us now smoke out of a device that's made straight from our planet! Combine that with the Durability of Silicone and you have yourself a real competitor to Borosilicate Glass! However, this is only true if you know that the bong, pipe or container that you are using is made of pure Silicone and is not tainted with filler materials that can be harmful to your health and environment over time. Believe it or not, Borosilicate Glass and Silicone both come from the element Silica!
The melting point of Silicone is very high, about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and your average lighter can get up to 3,000 degrees and cause your Silicone to either melt or can off-gas harmful gases if you hold the flame to it for extended periods of time, which is why the risk goes up when smoking out of a Silicone hand pipe especially with the smoldering center of your bowl that can reach up to 900 degrees! We really suggest that you purchase your silicone with all of these factors in mind and try and steer away from pipes that have close contact with your flame to where you're smoking from.
The biggest advantage of Silicone is it's durability and the fact that you can drop it from the tallest building in the world and it will be ready to smoke a bowl out of! Just make sure not to have any of the glass attachments in it before testing it's durability and do not throw it off of building, it was just an example! Aside from being able to be dropped, Silicone is also very malleable and able to bend and fit into very tight spots. The biggest downfall of it's durability is that you really can't keep it clean for nearly as long as you can keep glass clean for which bring us to our next subject.
Longevity is one of the only factors that are working against all Silicone if we have to be honest and it my only affect a few users. The smell that can develop from using your Silicone Bong or Hand Pipe over time can be very un-pleasant and something that all of us at the shop have experienced with Silicone. The process of cleaning your silicone regularly will also eventually cause the Silicone to break down, since it is made from mostly naturally elements and after you throw Silicone away there's no telling of what becomes of it, which brings us to our next subject.
There's definitely an Environmental Impact that Borosilicate Glass has too but American Glass companies have many regulations to follow and take all of the precaution needed to have the absolute minimum amount of pollution possible, there tools to monitor the production of toxins and glass will also eventually break down to dust/sand after disposed of. On the other hand, Silicone is made by numerous companies overseas that do not have the regulations that we have over here in the U.S.A. There are only a small hand full of Silicone bong manufacturers in America and the overwhelming bulk are made in China. Now speaking to the after affect Silicone has boro beat. Since it can be recycled once its used it will have less of an impact on our planet. Borosilicate glass however cannot be recycled
With all of that information to digest, there are some really strong factors that play into Silicone's success in the industry. Cost and durability are the biggest factors but only offer short term convenience. There are real risk factors when it comes to flame and silicone use that should always be kept in mind while using silicone. With Glass, as long as you stay on top of it's cleaning and have a nice strong American piece of Glass you will have it for life as long as you don't break it, and you're always some Alcohol and Salt away from getting it sparkly clean again!