Rubber trees are one of earth’s greatest natural resources. In 2008, the IRSG estimated the world consumed 22.18 million metric tons of rubber. The primary rubber tree specie used in the world is the Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg, and is native to the Amazon. Rubber is used in a variety of applications ranging from latex gloves, valves in machinery, to shoes. Rubber plantations provide jobs and resources for the local economy. Rubber trees are not just a great source of latex, but are also, used as bio-fuel, raw material for manufacturing, and for furniture production. The greatest benefit of rubber trees is the amount of carbon sequestration from the environment the trees provide.
CO2 Sequestration Benefits:
In this market environment today, going “green” is the in thing. The rubber production industry is recognized as a green industry. Rubber plantations are able to sell carbon offsets. “The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows a country that emits carbon above agreed-upon limits to purchase carbon offsets from an entity that uses biological means to absorb or reduce greenhouse emission.” (www.worldviewimpact.com) The amount of carbon sequestered in one hectare of rubber plantation amounts to 680 Mt. With these benefits of natural rubber, it is disheartening that the glove industry is moving towards synthetic rubbers, made from carbon based raw materials. These synthetic gloves are non-biodegradable compared to their natural biodegradable counterparts. Also, when synthetic gloves are disposed of by furnaces, harmful chemicals are released into the environment. (MSDS for Nitrile Rubber Powder) Aside from the benefits of carbon sequestration and reducing the need for carbon based synthetic rubber products; rubber plantations provide numerous sociological and economical benefits for the local economy.
Social and Economical Benefits:
The social and economic benefits rubber plantations produce are new jobs, renewable raw materials, and absorbing carbon emissions. Rubber plantations create a host of jobs, from creating jobs directly rubber harvesting activities to those created indirectly, in jobs that are created to support the needs of the plantation workers. This follow of cash helps development of a social network of people all linked to the rubber developments. After 30 years of rubber tapping, a rubber trees efficiency to produce rubber drops. The tree is then chopped down and the wood from the tree is used as bio-fuel, furniture wood, or as light manufacturing wood. Every time a tree is chopped down a new tree takes its place. This constant circle plays in with the daily circle of us creating CO2 and the trees recycling the CO2 into reusable energy. Rubber trees provide rubber and wood as raw materials for our products, but more importantly they help us constantly in sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere. Do your part in helping the earth by buying more natural rubber products over synthetic non-biodegradable rubbers, such as nitrile.
*Disclaimer: The Views and Opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy or position of Shen Wei USA Inc.