Natural Rubber

Expert Advice -

Natural rubber is a renewable resource from plants.  However, many ‘rubber’ products are actually made with synthetic rubber, a petroleum-based product.  Petroleum is a non-renewable resource, and therefore unsustainable in the long term. 

To work towards sustainability, we should move away from petroleum-based products.  Natural rubber is also preferable from an energy use standpoint. Natural rubber requires approximately 15 GJ/ton for production vs. 100-200 GJ/ton for synthetic rubber. 

Natural rubber may also be unsustainable, however, because many rubber farms operate irresponsibly and have unacceptable working conditions. 

To ensure your rubber products are sustainable, look for products that are both natural and recycled. Recycling and reusing rubber have been done for a number of years.  Recycling rubber using slightly more energy intensive means can result in making virtually any rubber product out of 100% recycled content.