Tires are a necessity, but disposing of them is a headache. There are all kinds of surprising uses for weeds, and latest in green technology is using the common (annoying) dandelion to make biodegradable automobile tires. Using the ordinary weeds growing all around us to create substitutes for polluting products is a dream resurrected.

Right now, most of the world’s rubber comes from tropical rubber trees, which are sliced in the trunk to allow the white latex to drip into a can (the same way syrup is tapped from Maple trees).

If you’ve ever broken open a dandelion stem, you’ve noticed the white goo that oozes out of it. Could this substance be used instead of rubber to make tires for cars and trucks? In Discovery News, Eric Bland quotes German researcher Dirk Prufer as saying, “If the plants were to be cultivated on a large scale, every hectare would produce 1,100 to 2,200 pounds of latex per growing season.”

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