by Erin McKittrick on Apr 14, 2007
This blog's been empty for a bit. But now I'm back in town after a few weeks in Alaska testing out winter gear for an upcoming 4,000 mile environmental expedition.
The last ingredient in a pair of Sundrop Earrings is rubber. We put little rubber ear nuts on the backs of the french ear wires. Partly to hold them on the card for display and shipping, and partly to prevent people from losing the earrings wearing them. Of course, people often don't remember to use them, so we end up fairly often re-matching a mate to someone's lost earring (something we're generally happy to do).
Natural vs synthetic rubberNatural rubber is a renewable resource, made from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree. But rubber plantations can cause habitat loss when they displace existing tropical forests. Synthetic rubber is made from petroleum. Petroleum is obviously non-renewable, and synthetic rubber takes more energy to make (we're using fossil fuels to synthesize polymers, while the trees use solar energy). I'm not sure how it shakes out in the end between these two, but synthetic rubber has been steadily replacing natural rubber.
What I'd actually like to know is more specifics about the rubber manufacturing in the first place. However, rubber ear nuts are only about 0.005 ounces/pair (a pair is about a tenth of an ounce total). In my calculations so far, I've been looking at 1000 pairs of earrings, almost 8 pounds worth. In all that, rubber ear nuts are still only about 5 ounces. Basically, I really doubt they're a huge part of Sundrop Jewelry's impact.