During a recent trip to Thailand I took time out to visit a local latex (rubber) plantation. Most people don’t realise that rubber comes from the sap of trees, it’s called latex and is a natural product. Now sure by the time we fit it to your car its far from natural, in fact well over 200 different chemicals go into the making of a tyre. As the underlying component the best latex produces the best tyres.
Natural latex is actually pure white, a far cry from the black tyres we all see.
The locals wake early every morning as they have done for generations and strip a little bit of bark from the tree, too much and you’ll have a sick tree, too little and its hardly worth the effort, they strip it in a diagonal fashion and place a cup underneath to catch the sappy substance. Eventually the tree repairs itself and you can start in a fresh spot the next day.
Once the cup is full they will take it away and add a chemical that helps store and transport the rubber.
It’s only a small amount from each tree, perhaps the same amount as when you put milk in your coffee. Obviously it takes hundreds and thousands of trees each day but the Thai’s who live in these areas think its a great lifesytle.