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The Guayule Plant and a Greener Future for Tires

The Guayule plant, Parthenium Argentatum, is a wiry shrub that is native to Mexico. It has been used as a source of latex since ancient times. It now presents a possibility of reducing the environmental impact of tires.

Natural rubber isn’t grown in many areas due to profoundly damaging diseases and a need for growing conditions conducive to a tropical plant. Where there are good growing conditions the rubber trees create demand for the clearing of native forests and jungle while increasing world hunger through the use of arable land for a crop that is not edible. Its alternative is synthetic rubber which depends on petroleum and has the clear issues of pollution that go with petroleum based products.

Guayule has the advantage as it can be grown in arid land in which food crops would not be suitable. Bridgestone and Cooper Tires have been developing programs using this new resources. As long as development persists there is hope that some of the world's tire demand can be met by the rubber from guayule rubber.