Types of rubberThere are two main types of rubber – natural and synthetic. Natural rubber (also referred to as caoutchouc and India rubber) is produced from latex derived from rubber trees. Although the rubber tree is native to South America, the Americas only account for 2.5 percent of global natural rubber production. In comparison, natural rubber production in Asia totaled 12.25 million metric tons in 2019, accounting for 90 percent of global production. Thailand produces more than four million metric tons of natural rubber per year, making it the world’s largest producer of natural rubber.
Synthetic rubber refers to any artificial elastomer, which is mainly polymers synthesized from byproducts of the petroleum refining process. There are approximately 20 different chemical types of synthetic rubber, with different grades of rubber in each of those chemical categories. As of 2020, synthetic rubber production accounted for 53 percent of the global rubber supply.