Rubber bands are ubiquitous; everyone has them and occasionally uses them. They come in nearly every shape and size; they’ve even become a craft accessory out of which creative shapes can be formed (just google “rainbow loom designs”).
But have you ever stopped to think about how they’re made? Are they made from natural or synthetic materials? You might be tempted to think that they’re some kind of plastic or silicone, but most rubber bands are made out of the sap of rubber tree plants; that sap, specifically, is latex. Trees are “tapped” – a slice of bark removed – every two days, and the latex gathers in bowls attached below the cut. It will flow for an hour or two and then heals over.
The actual process to turn rubber latex into uniform rubberbands is a complex one; it’s a process that evolved over time, trial, and error into a well-oiled machine – literally. To learn more, click on the following links:
Alliance Rubber Company – The birthplace of the modern rubber band
YouTube: How It’s Made
As with anything, we should take care to use what we buy, and buy what we’ll use. Rubber bands are produced by the millions each day (the factory featured in the YouTube video produces 40 million per day), so use the ones you have wisely! If you’re curious as to how to make a rubber band ball like this image, just click here. I have several of these around the house, and they’re practical and easy to make. Enjoy!
9 responses to “How It’s Made: Rubber Bands”
I had assumed they were synthetic. (Oops there goes another rubber tree.)
And I had always assumed latex was synthetic. Learn something new every day. 🙂
I never questioned the making of rubber bands. As usual, you have researched interesting facts.
Rubber bands have a symbolic value for me. If an old rubber band breaks and there is no new one handy, one can often tie a knot to get a smaller band that still serves the purpose. Temporarily. People who have been “healed” after being physically or emotionally battered may be like old rubber bands with knots.
Maybe I question too many things, but it makes life interesting. 😉
Or like Kintsugi (if you haven’t read it yet, check out this article of mine: https://stephaniehuesler.com/2017/10/13/the-kintsugi-of-life/ ).
Your interests lead to wonderful posts.
Thank you! 🙂