Brazil Using Condoms to Protect Rainforest
Sustainable condom project to use Amazon rubber
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2010 3:30 AM CDT
Many rubber-tappers have been put out of work by competition from cheaper, synthetic alternatives.   (?Ben Sutherland)
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(Newser) – Brazil has unrolled an ambitious plan to preserve vast areas of the Amazon rainforest by tapping its rubber trees to make sustainable condoms. Most "rubbers" are now made from cheaper synthetic materials, but officials of the Brazilian government—which buys 1 billion condoms a year—say the project will reduce its dependence on imports and give local people a livelihood dependent on trees which ensures they will battle deforestation.

The condoms will be the only ones in the world made from rubber harvested from a tropical forest. Similar schemes are under way to produce handbags and other items from rainforest rubber. If the condom project proves successful, Brazil's image as a "sexy country" could make the sustainable rubbers a hot-selling export, the Guardian notes.