Today we’re blogging about natural tree rubber; where it comes from and why it is number one choice as a sustainable option for yoga mats.
Early history documents that the Mayans and the Aztecs were the first to get rubber from trees by tapping into several trees found in Central and South America:
- Hevea braziliensis: The most common commercial rubber tree from Brazil.
- Hevea guyanensis: Originally found in French Guyana.
- Castilla elastica: Sometimes called the Mexican rubber tree or the Panama rubber tree.
Fast forward to today; most natural tree rubber comes from Latin American-derived trees transplanted to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia), as well as India, Sri Lanka and Africa. In these areas, you can find other rubber-producing trees which include:
- Ficus elastica: found in Java and Malaysia. This species is also a common tropical houseplant.
- Funtumia elastica: grows in West Africa.
- Landolphia owariensis: located in the Congo basin.
Typically it takes about six years for a rubber tree to grow to a point where it’s economical to harvest the sap, which is called latex. The organic latex is hand-tapped by making tiny incisions into the bark and then collected by small cups. This gentle process keeps trees alive so they can be re-tapped for years to come.
Natural tree rubber is a healthier choice for use in yoga mats as it does not contain harmful petrochemical-based Synthetic Rubber such as PVC, TPE, EVA and NBR. These harmful chemicals release during production, when in use, and when disposed of.
Our natural tree rubber yoga mats are not only environmentally friendly, but a better rubber choice for your practice. It is a renewable source, has greater resistance to tearing, better performance and doesn’t retain moisture like other synthetic rubbers.