Forests give us so much—fresh air, clean water, wildlife and tranquil surroundings. But—as some of you probably know—the trees that grow in these forests also provide us with many products we use in our everyday life. From paper towels and toilet paper, to the wooden coffee tables we place our newspapers and magazines on, products from trees are all around us.
While almost everyone knows that wood and paper products come from trees, folks may not be as aware that many other products we use on a daily basis come from trees. We often forget the wooden handles from our brooms and the containers that hold our ice cream also come from the forest.
WWF is working to address the threats to forests so we can sustain nature’s diversity, benefit our climate and support human well-being—including continuing to responsibly produce products that come from trees. Those products are easy to find. They have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. The label means the product was created with material from a responsibly-managed forest. The FSC—which WWF helped create nearly 20 years ago—has the best standards for assessing which forests are properly managed.
Next time you use the following products, take a moment to think about the amazing trees that helped create them, or helped them get their start:
1. Latex Rubber Gloves
Washing the dishes or a trip to the dentist wouldn’t be the same without latex rubber gloves. Both medical and household rubber gloves are made from natural latex, a product that comes from Hevea brasiliensis, better known as the rubber tree. Latex is produced from the white and cloudy fluid found under the bark. These trees can be tapped for up to 30 years to create latex.
A soft and squishy product like a sponge is made from wood fibers? That’s right! Many household sponges are made from cellulose wood fibers.
3. Wine Corks
Did you know there’s a difference between a cork tree and a cork oak? The cork used to create wine stoppers, only comes from the cork oak. These trees live for up to 250 years, and at age 25 and every 10 years thereafter, these trees are stripped for their cork to help create the stoppers used in wine bottles around the world.
4. Chewing gum
Chewing gum, in one form or another, has been around for thousands of years. While many of today’s popular gum brands have transitioned to using synthetic sap substitutes, much of today’s gum got its start from the chicle sap found in sapodilla trees.
5. Car wax
Carnauba wax is found on the leaves of Copernicia prunifera, a type of palm tree that only grows in Brazil. The wax that is found in many popular car wax brands is obtained by drying and beating the leaves to remove the wax.
6. Hair Dye
Looking for a natural alternative to a chemical-based hair dye? The leaves from the henna tree have been used for thousands of years to create hair dye. When the leaves are crushed, the dye from these trees boasts a brilliant orange/red color. Bark from various trees and nutshells, including walnut shells, have also been used to create different colored dyes throughout the years.
Next time you have a delicious bite of chocolate, you can also take a moment to think about the beautiful tropical forest that chocolate came from. Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, a native tree of the Amazon. These trees can also be found in South and Central America, the Caribbean and other humid and tropical climates in both Africa and Asia.