Rubber is a versatile material used in a wide variety of applications. From tires to shoe soles, rubber is everywhere! But not all types of rubber are biodegradable. In fact, most conventional rubbers are not biodegradable because they contain synthetic rubber polymers that can resist decomposition for many years.
Traditional rubber is a type of synthetic plastic that can be found in many consumer goods and products. It’s composed of polymers, which are long chains of molecules that are difficult to break down naturally. This type of rubber often ends up in landfills due to its inability to biodegrade quickly. Unfortunately, this means it can take centuries for it to break down and even then, the process is not complete.
Biodegradable rubber, on the other hand, is made of natural polymers that can be broken down more easily by microorganisms. Many times, this type of rubber is typically derived from renewable sources such as guayule or dandelion. Guayule is a shrub native to the Southwest United States and Mexico, while dandelion is a plant found in many parts of the world. Both plants are known for their rubber-like properties and can be processed into biodegradable rubber products.
Biodegradable rubber has several advantages over traditional rubber. It doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that can harm the environment, and it doesn’t create long-term pollution. Also, biodegradable rubber breaks down faster than traditional rubber, so it helps reduce landfill waste.
Biodegradable rubber is quickly gaining popularity as more people become aware of its environmental benefits. As demand for this type of rubber increases, companies are finding new ways to produce it in a cost-effective manner. This is helping to make biodegradable rubber more accessible and affordable for consumers.
Let’s take a look at the various types of biodegradable rubber.
Natural or Plant-Based Rubber
Natural or plant-based rubber is a type of rubber made from renewable resources such as natural latex. Natural rubber has been used for centuries and is still widely used today in many industries, including the automotive and medical sectors. Natural rubber is produced by tapping into the sap of certain trees which contain compounds called latexes that have the ability to form a rubber-like material. This type of rubber is biodegradable and has excellent elasticity and durability, making it perfect for many applications.
Biobased rubber is created from renewable sources, such as vegetable oils or other plant-based compounds, which are mixed with certain chemicals to create a flexible and durable rubber-like material. This type of rubber is biodegradable and has many uses, including tires, shoe soles, and medical equipment.
Biodegradable Synthetic Rubber
Biodegradable synthetic rubbers are a type of rubber that’s designed to decompose over time into natural, harmless substances. This type of rubber is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional rubbers that contain synthetic polymers and are not biodegradable. There are several types of biodegradable synthetic rubbers, each with their own unique properties and applications. For example, one type of biodegradable synthetic rubber can be used in medical equipment while another may be used in shoe soles or automobile tires.
For consumers, manufacturers, and governments looking to utilize the most environmentally friendly types of rubber, natural or plant-based rubber and biobased rubber should be considered for their biodegradability. Additionally, biodegradable synthetic rubbers can also be a great choice, depending on the specific application. In any case, using biodegradable rubber is a great way to reduce environmental impact and will help keep our planet healthy!