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Facts: History and Environmental Benefits
Latex is a 100% biodegradable product obtained by tapping Rubber Trees.
- Rubber Trees are an ancient Rain Forest species originally from the Amazon Jungle in Brazil.
- Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper, became famous when he organised the National Council of Rubber Tappers in Brazil to help protest against the clear cutting of land for cattle grazing. Thanks to his efforts, vast areas of “extractive reserves” were set aside, within Brazil.
These reserves allow for the sustainable harvest of goods, such as rubber or nuts, and protect against the clear cutting of trees. In 1988 Chico Mendes was murdered by a cattle rancher because of his work to protect the rainforest and the “extractive reserves.
His work has been carried on by his co-workers and supporters around the world.
- The maintenance and planting of rubber trees has a significant impact on reducing climate change. Carbon sequestration is achieved through the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and its conversion into cellulose and organic matter.
The amount of carbon sequestered in one hectare of a 31 year old stand of rubber trees is 596 Megatonnes.
- Four Rubber Trees counteract the environmental footprint of an average person from a middle income society.
- A single Rubber Tree, during its lifetime, counteracts the carbon emissions from a car being driven 36,000 kilometres.
- The rubber production industry is recognised as a green industry. Rubber plantations are able to sell carbon offsets to a country that emits carbon above agreed-upon limits.
- 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.
- Latex production provides employment and income for many people living in some of the most impoverished places on earth.
- Latex is biodegradable and does not have any cumulative effect on the environment.