To produce rubber products, manufacturing companies utilise natural rubber. Rubber is entirely unique and has unusual qualities that cannot be replicated anywhere else in nature. Most prominently it is known for being flexible, watertight and airtight, with it having many uses both individually and collectively with other materials. Primarily, natural rubber is harvested from the para rubber tree (Hevea) in a latex composition by “tapping”. “Tapping” is the process of cutting into the bark of the rubber tree and collecting the latex fluid.
Commercial processing will then see the latex combined with water and refined into rubber. This rubber can then be used in the production of an abundance of products from tyres to chairs and mattresses. Comparatively, alternatives to natural rubber are cheaper commodities, however due to its prominence in manufacturing, over a dozen global industries drive demand. In today’s society synthetic rubber makes up over 50% of production, yet millions of tonnes of natural rubber continue to be produced as it is an essential commodity in the automotive and military industries.
By it’s nature, natural rubber is an environmentally-friendly commodity. Incredibly, research has also shown that a rubber plantation has the potential to yield life sustaining oxygen and consume fossil fuel burning products at a rate almost as effective as a virgin forest during photosynthesis. Hence, improved soil, water and nutrient management can theoretically be achieved through rubber plantations.