Most people are wondering, “is rubber eco-friendly?” Before we delve into our question, it would be fair enough to get a clear idea that rubber comes in different types.
Every type is pretty valuable and monumental in our everyday applications. In a nutshell, natural rubber is eco-friendly. It’s recyclable.
Today, you can get great eco-friendly rubber products out there. They have a minimal to no impact on the environment, thus enhancing a greener future.
So, what is eco-friendly rubber? As aforementioned, its rubber products have a more negligible effect on our environment. Eco-rubber is a sustainable material.
Natural rubber ensures a green life from the lifecycle of rubber harvesting and manufacturing to recycling and use.
What are the different types of rubber? Are they all eco-friendly?
For many years, I thought that rubber is only available in synthetic form. But you’ll realize that rubber comes in different forms. Let us understand different types of rubbers.
- Natural rubber. First off, natural rubber is trendy. It’s made from latex, a runny, milky white liquid harvested and collected from the rubber tree (Para rubber tree). This plant helps remove and balance carbon dioxide from the air. Also, it’s used to manufacture products such as rubber sheets and mats.
- Synthetic rubber. Unlike the former, synthetic rubber has to go through a chemical process to develop the end product. So, there’s the use of petrochemicals. The most common effects are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl acetate (PVA), polychloroprene, and styrene-butadiene. Keep in mind that synthetic rubber products are not environmentally friendly.
- Recycled rubber. This is another form of eco-friendly rubber. Instead of throwing it into a pit to create excess waste and pollution, recycle it into other products. Some recycled rubber objects may include tires, hot water balls, tennis shoes, and rubber beach balls. These products have excellent sturdiness and durability to withstand harsh conditions.
- Reclaimed rubber. Lastly, this form is just like a discarded and rejected elastomer that has undergone a process called de-vulcanization.
Is Rubber Bad for the Environment?
It depends on the type of rubber – the answer can be yes or no. We may think that rubber has minimal impact on the environment, but not all forms are a great choice.
Even so, we should be aware that these products are not 100 percent environmentally friendly.
To live a green life, it’s recommended that you choose a rubber that’s procured from plants. The best bet is natural rubber that features latex.
So, synthetic rubber enjoys the same properties, but the production is very different. Its consistent use will pose threats to the environment.
Eco-Friendly Properties of Natural Rubber
It’s high time you start adapting to a more sustainable lifestyle. Pay attention to eco brands and products that boost a positive environmental reform. Green Products like natural rubber sheeting for your home are a good solution.
Natural rubber is eco-friendly in its life cycle – from harvesting to production. It has some properties that make it favorable. These include;
- Naturally-sourced. Latex collected from rubber trees makes natural rubber products. Alongside that, the Para tree is grown through sustainable methods. That said, it will help in balancing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Sustainable. The tree, which is the source, features a renewable feature. Should the tree deteriorate in producing latex, then you can replant without any hassle.
- Non-toxic. Natural rubber comes from a natural source. Meaning, the products contain no traces of petroleum, chemicals, and heavy metals that can be dangerous to human health.
- Biodegradable. Many companies derive natural rubber from natural/inorganic materials, and its products become biodegradable. It will decompose into essential elements, primarily through weathering, without causing environmental damage.
Environmental Effects of Rubber
Rubber has wide applications in our daily life. Well, natural rubber is the smartest choice. While this is possible, it’s not a surety during its average production. Rubber harvests can result in extensive environmental damage.
For instance, there will be negative impacts on both the water and air during dried rubber sheet production.
Again, smoke particles during rubber-wood burning will affect the air we breathe in. Both the community and local workers around the environs will inhale this dangerous smoke.
Water is a component during the production process. That’s why there are high levels of wastewater. This might contaminate the local water supply.
Using Eco-Friendly Rubber
All products made from eco-rubber are helpful in many ways. Flooring items are the most common to get in the market. Here is the list;
- Rubber flooring
- Rubber pavers
- Rubber matting
- Playground surfaces
- Recycled rubber mulch
Eco-friendly rubber alternatives
These days, rubber has many applications ranging from pacifiers to tires and feeding nipples to mats. Nevertheless, there are a dozen materials that are substitutes for rubber.
Silicone is an incredible alternative to rubber. It’s an artificial material that is mainly heat-resistant and contains toxicity levels. Due to inert features, silicone acts as a lubricant, cookware, and adhesive materials. Besides, it’s an excellent substitute for synthetic rubber in both insulation and electrical applications.
This is a perfect human-made alternative to rubber. Utterly important, this plastic-resin metal is durable. When you combine chlorine and ethylene, you’ll get PVC. Vinyl is a cheap, recyclable material, making it an eco-friendly alternative.
This is another stable natural rubber substitute. Nitrile Butadiene Rubber makes durable and flexible products like floor mats, footwear, and sponges. Its resilience makes it an ideal option for making disposable gloves.
Is rubber better than plastic for the environment?
Yes. Plastic is more harmful than natural rubber. Environmentalists reveal that both plastic and rubber are dangerous, though. When burned, both can emit toxic gases or fumes.
Rubber is the world’s most used material. As evident, natural rubber is eco-friendly. It has unique properties, including biodegradable, naturally-sourced, moldable, sustainable, and recyclable.
The material is present in products such as protective gloves and birthday balloons to pencil erasers.
The demand for natural rubber is never-ending. Today, around 60 percent of tires contain natural rubber as the key component. It even outshines rubber-like plastics and synthetic rubber, hands down. Environmentally friendly rubber products come in a myriad of colors and textures. Just choose the one that matches your needs.