When I think of rubber, I always imagine it was created in a lab somewhere by some guy with goggles and a pocket protector, that now is mass produced in a big, scary, smelly factory somewhere on the outskirts of Detroit.
Turns out, I was totally wrong. Well, I was about half wrong.
According to the interwebs, about 42% of the rubber produced every year comes from -- wait for it -- TREES!
How did I not know this?
Again, from the interwebs:
"Hevea brasiliensis, the Pará rubber tree, sharinga tree, or, most commonly, the rubber tree, is a tree belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. ...the milky latex extracted from the tree is the primary source of natural rubber."
Latex comes from trees, people.
The trees are tapped, and a natural latex substance drains out. That liquid is collected and mixed with formic acid to thicken it up. Then it is squashed to remove the extra water, and left to dry. And that's it. That's rubber.
Tires, rain boots, balloons, gloves... They're all made from the stuff that seeps out of tree bark.
How cool is that?!