Rubber trees are not bouncy. I know; I was disappointed to find this out as well. As a child growing up on the philosophies of Dr. Seuss, I assumed that rubber trees grew in giant, jungle gym forests just outside of Whoville. They don’t, for the record, and if you ever find yourself in a rubber tree forest, trying to bounce from tree to tree is not advisable.
Rubber trees actually grow on large plantations, mostly in warm, tropical climates in countries like Malaysia and South Africa. Natural rubber is a sap, and is tapped from the tree much like maple syrup. It’s very sustainable; one tree can be tapped for 40 years without harming the growth of the tree. As a person who always casts her vote for sustainability, I am obviously all for this type of production, and loving the fact that natural rubber is rising rapidly in demand. As a person who works in an industry dependent on natural rubber, I am not so thrilled to find that demand is rising faster than production. This combination always seems to end in price increases.
With more demand from other industries looking for a natural alternative to synthetic rubber in their products, natural rubber is the “it-girl” of the latex industry. Factor in rising demand from rapidly developing countries such as China, and natural rubber is becoming more and more sought after. Unfortunately, unlike synthetic substances, we have to wait years for a rubber tree to mature before it is able to produce sap that can be used to make products.
And so this story ends with higher mattress prices. The cost of natural rubber went up 20% in just the past year, and unfortunately we can’t absorb that much of a price increase and still stay in business, although we wish we could. However, when put into perspective, a Lifekind organic mattress will last at least 20 years…which is 7,305 nights (including leap years)…which is 58,440 hours of restful, organic sleep. That’s a lot of sleep for your buck.