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How to Select Green Rubber Products

Green Products

Megan Beaulieu Executive Support at Elasto Proxy

Green manufacturing isn’t just about saving the planet. It’s about sustaining long-term profitability. For product designers and technical buyers, deciding whether to use green rubber products means striking a balance between business economics and environmental responsibility. Consumers say they want to “go green”, but are they willing to pay more for green parts? If green rubber products are cost-effective, will these eco-friendly components meet all of your application requirements?

These are just some of the questions that manufacturers are asking, not only of their own marketing and engineering departments, but of their supply chain partners. Answering these questions involves careful analysis, of course, but it starts with understanding what green manufacturing is about. On the one hand, there are the manufactured products used in green technologies such as solar panels. On the other, there are efforts by manufacturers to reduce, re-use, and recycle – regardless of markets served.

What Makes Rubber Green?

As a supplier of sealing and insulation solutions to both the green power industry and a variety of other markets, Elasto Proxy has asked itself what makes rubber products “green”. After extensive research and discussion, our 25-year old company defines “green rubber” with regard to product characteristics and/or production methods. Our definition may not be the same as another supplier’s, but we’ve considered our explanation carefully so that we can state it accurately and share it with you.

Some green rubber products are made of recycled elastomers, even if the original materials contained petroleum products. Other green rubber is biodegradable, and typically made of plant-based materials. Still other rubber parts deserve the “green” label because they have longer life cycles. These high-quality rubber components may or may not come from sustainable sources, but remember that rubber can be “green” if it’s made in a facility that uses wind or solar power, or that has reduced emissions.

Green Power and Beyond

As an experienced supplier to the green power industry, Elasto Proxy designs and custom-fabricates windmill door seals, sound insulation for power generators, rubber profiles for windmill blades and nacelles, lens cover gaskets, and protective profiles for the glass on solar panels. Now, as we prepare to share samples of green rubber products, our solutions providers will present these options to all of the industries we serve.

For example, the building and construction industry needs door and window seals, weatherstripping, trim, and floor matting for green homes. The automotive industry can use green materials in hatch seals, window and door seals, and thermal and acoustic insulation.  Alternatively, car makers can strengthen the designs of environmentally-friendly electric vehicles with green rubber seals, mats, and gaskets.  Green rubber products also can be used in mass transit applications such as trains, buses, and subways.

Join the Conversation

What makes a rubber product “green”? Is it the materials of construction, the way that it’s made – or a combination of both? Now that Elasto Proxy has shared its definition of “green rubber products” with you, we’d like to hear what you think – and understand your business needs and application requirements for green materials.

Join the conversation on our social media sites. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.