Processing and Profiting from Rubber
How much rubber is bouncing around out there? According to the International Rubber Study Group, 9.7 million tons of natural rubber was produced in 2007, most of which came from Asia. At approximately $2,321 per ton, the natural rubber market involved about $22.5 billion in 2007...
Processing natural rubber consists of the following steps:
The profit and process picture is a little different for synthetic rubber. In 2007, about 13.6 million tons of synthetic rubber was produced, mostly in the United States , Europe and Asia [source: International Rubber Study Group ]. Priced at about $2,012 per ton, there was $26.2 billion to be made in the synthetic rubber market in 2007.
Synthetic rubber polymers are made from petroleum-based chemicals, clumped and dried for transport. Once at a manufacturing plant, the synthetic rubber polymers are mixed, ingredients may be added and the rubber is rolled into sheets. The sheets can be cut into strips for subsequent molding and processing. There are three basic processing techniques:
Rubber may not be the first thing you think of when you think reduce, reuse, recycle , but some products can be recycled. For example, tires can be shredded and heated in an anaerobic environment (pyrolysis) to break down the rubber and to reclaim the oil as oil by-products such as benzene. In other recycling methods, shredded rubber can be compression molded into different products.
Don't leave the rubber room just yet. We have more links than you can shoot a rubber band at next.