Reusable Silicone Bags: Are They Worth It?


Silicone bags are almost as famous as reusable straws in terms of products that mainstream society knows about as being good for the environment alternatives to single-use plastics.

Walk into basically any home-goods store nowadays and see displays of reusable bags on the shelves. It seems like every day there’s a new brand that pops up. But how good are reusable bags, really? And, are they actually a good choice for you?

Unfortunately, like most of the zero waste products on the market: it depends.

Whether or not you specifically need to buy silicone bags will depend entirely on your own lifestyle. If you don’t already rely on things like Ziploc bags for food/other storage, your silicone bags would probably just end up collecting dust and never get used.

If, however, you’re constantly using Ziploc (or another brand) of bags, you would probably get a lot of use out of silicone bags. You might think they’re the best invention ever and feel dumb for taking so long to buy some.

With such two extremes, how can you decide whether or not they’re worth the hype? Take a look at some of the pros and cons, then imagine if you’d actually use them in your everyday life.

Not that distant ‘someday’ utopia you often daydream about, I mean your actual everyday life.


Pro 1: They’re Versatile!

Since they’re made out of silicone, these bags are pretty versatile! You can freeze them, put them on the stove or microwave and/or even a dishwasher.

This isn’t true for every silicone bag though, so you’ll want to be sure to read the instructions for the specific brand you’re looking at. In my own research, I’ve seen a lot of them say they can at least go in the freezer and at least one source of heat, which are too of the best qualities you could ask for, in my opinion.


Pro 2: They Can Store a LOT!

Another perk I’ve seen is the sheer volume some of these bags can hold!

Obviously this depends on the brand and what size you buy, but I’ve seen ones that come in packs with snack-size, sandwich-size and 1 liter sized bags. I’ve also seen a few that have a fold-out bottom type thing so they can free-stand! That is not only a perk for the extra room they provide, but it’s also great for when you have to store the bags.

I’ve seen some Youtubers who use the non-free-standing kind, and they have to lay them all flat on top of each other to maximize their space. They also need to use three or four of the smaller bags.

Instead, you could use one of the free-standing bags, and that not only cuts down on the amount of bags you’ll have free for other storage, but might also be an easier way for you to store things like soups right side up.


Pro 3: They’re Better For The Environment!

Hopefully by now, I don’t need to tell you why single use plastics are bad for the environment. But, what you might not know, is why silicone is a good alternative.

Silicone is better than single-use/regular plastics because it’s an easier material to reprocess and it’s designed for longevity. This means you can use your silicone bags over and over, unlike Ziploc bags, which are designed to be thrown away after one use. This also means they won’t degrade as fast and don’t leech plastic into whatever you’re storing in them. (Like food)


Pro 4: They’re NOT Made Out of Plastic!

Though they may look and feel similar, silicone bags and disposable plastic bags are not made out of the same materials!

Plastic bags are (shocker) made out of plastic, whereas silicone bags are made out of a mixture between synthetic rubber and sand. Yes, you read that correctly. Silicone is (partly) made out of sand. How cool is that?


Con 1: They’re Pricey

Like most other zero waste products on the market, silicone bags have a bigger upfront cost. However, since they are designed to last you years, they actually help you save money in the long run, because you won’t constantly be buying disposable bags!

Don’t believe me? Let’s do a quick math check:

A 90 pack of Ziploc small size snack bags are $5.99 at Loblaws (at the time this article was written 24.06.28) and a 60 pack of big freezer-safe ones is listed at $13.99. Together, that’s only $19.98.

So, let’s say you bring a sandwich with you to work every day until you run out of the small bags. 90 bags means you’d run out in 90 days, which is about 3 months. And since there’s 12 months in a year, this means you’d have to buy Ziploc bags 4 times per year.

5.99 x 4= 23.96

This means your yearly cost of just the small Ziploc bags is $23.96. Which might not sound like a lot – 20 bucks is like the Adult $1, right? – but we’re not done. We still need to add the cost of the big Ziploc bags. Also, the small snack size bags aren’t listed as being freezer safe, which means you won’t be able to use them (safely) for long-term food storage.

The big Ziploc bags only come in a 60 pack, which would be only 2 months worth of bags. This means you’d need to replace them 6 times a year.

13.99 x 6= 83.94

83.94 + 23.96= $107.90

So your actual yearly cost of Ziplocs is about $107.90.

Now for the silicone bags.

I found a company that sells a 4 pack of different sizes for $49.99. (Linked here) So even if you bought 2 of these packs, that’d still only be $99.98. And that’s not a yearly cost.

Silicone reusable bags are as the name suggest, reusable. I unfortunately couldn’t find an exact number of disposable bags they replace, but the silicone bags are supposed to be reusable for years. So a one-time payment of $99.98 for let’s say, 4 years, instead of a multiple payments totaling $431.60 for the same amount of time, should hopefully highlight why silicone bags are actually the cheaper choice.

The above calculations are obviously for a very specific scenario of use, however I think it helps illustrate the true difference in prices. Reusable silicone bags aren’t actually more money, they’re just more money right now.


Con 2: They’re Not Infinitely  Recyclable

Unfortunately, unlike some other reusable alternatives (like glass or metal), silicone bags are not infinitely recyclable. This means that though they are reusable, they will still eventually break down/become unusable and at some point, and contribute to our garbage problem.

Granted, this can be as far away as five years, ten years or longer, our world does not need us producing even more garbage. I know there is no perfect alternative, but as mentioned above, there are a few other ‘better’ reusable options.


Con 3: Can Become Unstable If Heated Too High (Passed 300F)

Remember how above I said some types of silicone bags can be used on the stove or in a microwave? Well, this doesn’t mean you can heat them to any temperature.

Silicone bags can become unstable if they are heated too high – my research has indicated this number is around 300F. This is bad for obvious reasons: the bags become unusable if they melt and you definitely wouldn’t want to eat a meal that’s covered in melted silicone.

And this actually brings me to the last con of the day:


Con 4: Not All Silicone Bags Are Completely Inert

If you heat the silicone bag too high, not only does it have the potential to melt, but it also might start to leech its chemicals into whatever’s being stored in it.

This means you could potentially ingest the materials that make up silicone bags like sand and synthetic rubber.

These are obviously not the only potential pros and cons of silicone bags, but I feel these are the most important to consider before deciding if you should start to introduce them into your lifestyle.

Though silicone bags clearly aren’t flawless, don’t let them being imperfect be the only reason you don’t buy them. It’s better to take a baby step forward than stay exactly where you are, hoping that eventually you’ll be able to take a leap.

Like this article? Check out more articles about zero waste here!

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