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All you need to know

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The non-profit association Vesti la natura provides several free guides specially created to promote the use of low environmental impact materials among consumers and entrepreneurs

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Content index

What is the Caucciù?

Il caucciù is a natural rubber extracted from the latex of some commonly called plants Rubber trees. We can consider the caucciù like the oldest rubber in the world: worked for centuries with the traditional Vulcanization method, an environmentally friendly mechanical process.

Unfortunately replaced over the years by petroleum-based synthetic rubbers, today only very few companies still use caucciù to produce mainly shoe soles, but also other products.

High costs and long production times have meant that this natural rubber was set aside in favor of synthetic rubbers: cheaper and faster to market.

Il caucciù it is mistakenly confused as a synthetic material, but as we said this is not the case: il caucciù it is the only 100% natural rubber, which is why we included it in the textile fibers natural, although not a real textile fiber.

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The rubber tree

Rubber tree Caucciù

The rubber tree belongs to the Hevea brasiliensis family from which a white latex is extracted which after some chemical / mechanical processes becomes a natural rubber, the caucciù.

The rubber tree can exceed 40 meters in height, but in intensive cultivation these plants are much smaller, because the extraction of the latex limits their growth. Its origins are in Brazil, but it has also been exported to Asia for commercial purposes.

The cultivation ofrubber tree can be considered sustainable: it does not require chemicals, water, and other attention from man. The plant grows spontaneously in a completely autonomous and natural way.

The only thing to watch out for is deforestation. In many cases, intensive farming creates serious damage to natural forests, which are "cut down" to make room for something more profitable for humans. An environmental problem already seen for the palms from which palm oil is extracted, and for the eucalyptus and beech trees from which the textile fibers are extracted respectively Lyocell e Modal.

Extraction of the Caucciù

The extraction of the caucciù it takes place mechanically and it is not necessary to cut down the tree, as only incisions are made on the bark. These incisions are made in such a way as to let the latex flow into special collection containers placed at the base of the tree. The manufacturing process begins with the extracted latex caucciù.

Processing of the sheets of Caucciù
Sun exposure of the leaves Caucciù wet
Collection of sheets of Caucciù dried

Vulcanization of the Caucciù (video)

The extracted and subsequently dried latex is not usable, it is rigid and has no elastic properties, but thanks to a process called Vulcanization it is literally melted and molded. The processing of caucciù it is complex and still very artisanal.

Il caucciù vulcanized it gains elastic properties and great resistance.

Vulcanization is a chemical process, even if it happens mechanically: the latex sheets are heated and bonded to the sulfur using chemical additives. A similar process is carried out to create passenger car tires.

Vulcanization is considered as an ecological production model only in some cases, while in others it is considered a harmful process for the environment.

This depends on the manufacturing company's working methods. The ancient methods of processing the caucciù they are certainly those with the lowest environmental impact, but the more modern ones, as often happens, are more harmful to the environment.

Characteristics of the Caucciù

Fabric Quality:

The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.

  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying

Ecological Characteristics:

The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.

  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic  
  No GMOs
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class  

Textile Certifications:

The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.

Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Animal Free
Fair Wear Foundation

This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it

What is the Caucciù?

The products in caucciù they are quite widespread, but the collapse in sales of this material has negatively affected small local communities made up mostly of farming families.

Thanks to his notoriety of resistant rubber, in the textile sector the caucciù it is mainly used to make shoe soles. Although there are few companies that use it, among these certainly those that have an eye for the environment stand out: prefer a natural rubber such as caucciù it is undoubtedly a more sustainable choice than using synthetic materials.

Use of the caucciù covers various sectors, for example you can create car tires, pipes, insulating materials and everything that can be made with a very elastic and resistant rubber. The uses of the caucciù they are therefore very varied, it is even used in the jewelery sector to create jewels such as bracelets and necklaces.

Shoes in Caucciù

The shoes with sole in caucciù they are not easily distinguished from those with a synthetic sole. Several Italian fashion brands use the caucciù, but perhaps it is not advertised much as an ecological material, yet it should, given the reduced environmental impact of this natural rubber.

Buy products in Caucciù

A showcase where you can find Sustainable, ethical and cruelty free fashion brands guaranteed by the supervision of our association:

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Caucciù and allergy

The shoes have only the sole in caucciù and the inner sole avoids direct contact with the skin, at the moment however there are no problems of allergies, or reactions to contact with this material.

Caucciù Recycled

Being the caucciù a recyclable material is used in different ways, especially in the streets: asphalt, artificial bumps, traffic signs.

Maintenance of ecological fabrics

How do you wash the Caucciù?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using ecological detergents.

Being a very resistant natural rubber, the caucciù it can be washed by hand or in the washing machine, and it is also possible to put it in the dryer. There are no particular washing contraindications for the caucciù, which can also be vigorously brushed to remove hostile stains.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg


Want more information on the Caucciù? Ask your questions using the form below.

Ask Your Question!

Our answers:

Where can I buy the caucciù?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Il caucciù is it present in all shoes?

Unfortunately not, as vulcanization is a slower and more expensive process than the latest techniques discovered by man. While it is greener, this is not a priority for most fashion companies.

Caucciù is it a fabric?

Il caucciù it is not a fabric, but a natural rubber. We have included it among the textile fibers as it is the only natural rubber on the market.

Caucciù is it biodegradable?

Il caucciù it is biodegradable as its raw material is of natural origin, although some chemical additives are used during the vulcanization process.

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