Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Sustainability Assignment | Gen Paper

Inputs, Process and Output of Latex Condoms

Bipin Thandar

SCI 215 Creating a Sustainable World: Technology & Energy Solutions

Westcliff University

Presidential Business School

Sijal Pokharel

March 24, 2022


What are Latex Condoms and its Inputs?

Condoms made of latex rubber first introduced in the twentieth century after rubber

condoms first were introduced in the nineteenth. Natural condoms, on the other hand, are far

more permeable and therefore less efficient in blocking microbes, including HIV. Human

papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmissible virus, has indeed been linked to ovarian

cancer, which condoms are proven to safeguard from (Reproductive Health Matters, 2006).

To produce a condom, the most significant raw material is the latex milk, extracted

from the latex trees. Such latex trees are generally found in the south American Amazonian

rainforests including Brazil, Venezuela and the rest of the region. Well before barrel is

completely full of latex, it normally takes about a half day to fill. Harvesting may only be

performed on dry days to prevent precipitation from diluting the latex. A total of 300 trees

will have their bark shaved away during the latex extraction process. Similarly, other

materials such as sulphur/zinc oxide, polydimethylsiloxane (silicone oil) and powders are

required in order to produce a condom along with water. After extracting and acquiring the

raw materials, it has to be processed in to a systematic order, which requires machines such

as condom dipping lines, condom burst volumes and bursting pressure testing equipment,

tests on a piece-by-piece basis for pinholes and other devices, assisting in quality control.

Moreover, human resources, fuel, energy and so on are other inputs for the production of a


The Process to Produce a Condom

Majority of condoms are composed of organic rubber, which is derived from the sap

of rubber plants (latex milk). Following crystallizing and hardening in the presence of air, the

rubber was sliced into little pieces before it was again liquidities using petrol. Nevertheless,


this was a difficult and risky procedure, with frequent explosions occurring in the

manufacturing buildings.

As a result, research was launched for a method to lower the latex’s relative humidity,

making it simpler to carry while yet allowing it to remain liquid. Eventually, ammonia was

determined to be the answer, which prevented the latex from crystallizing by heating and

evaporating it. Ammonia with in natural latex concentration evaporates as a colourless gas

which has a strong, lingering odour being heated more during additional processing (CAREY

et al., 1992).

Presently, a litre of latex may provide up to 700 condoms. This is done by dipping the

glass moulds into liquefied latex milk. Sap from the rubber trees (60 %), water (38.5 %) and

zinc/sulphur oxide make up the latex milk (1.5 %). The mouldings are again cleansed and

coated with a thin rubber layer after a quick soaking in the milk (the warmth of which is

between 20 and 30 degrees). Following several soaking washes and drying periods, the

condom reaches a thickness around 0.03 and 0.08 millimetres in its raw form. To get the rim

on the wide end, one will need brushes. The heated air cylinders are then used to vulcanize

the condom, which is finally removed from the glass mould.

Cleaning is the next step. Powder and silicone are added to water to ensure that now

the condoms are just no more adhesive or sticky. They are then dried at a temperature of

around 85 degrees. To see if there is any leakage, cylinders are submerged in a liquid

electrolyte. Ionic conductivity is reduced in the presence of a condom opening. Electricity is

running through into the condom if somehow the light on the substation comes on, indicating

that the condom must have leaked and has to be discarded. Random quality tests are carried

out by condom brand producers (elasticity test, inflation test, microbiological purity test, leak


test) (Trussell et al., 1992). A condom, for instance, must be able to extend up to seven times

its regular size before suffering any harm.

How the Finished Products Reach to Customers?

In order to start the manufacturing process, materials need to be available in the

plants. Similarly, after the completion of the manufacturing process, the end product needs to

be made available to the customers, who would use it, otherwise the entire production would

be nothing but waste. The largest condom manufacturer in the world is Karex, which is a

Malaysia based company. Since, the raw materials, latex, is found majorly in the rain forests

of Amazonian region, it needs to be transported all the way to the plants of Malaysia from the


Similarly, after the production, it needs to reach to the customers. Japan and China are

some of the largest consumers of condoms, where China alone consumed 13 billion units of

condoms in 2018 (Matsumoto et al., 1972). In order to fulfil the demand, the finished

products again need to be transported to the places where there is demand. Once a unit of

condom is used, it cannot be reused or recycled, hence, once the consumer uses a condom, its

life cycle ends (Htat et al., 2015).


The preceding chart depicts the visual of input and output associated in the production

cycle through end of life:


Figure 1: Flow chart to show the life cycle of condoms

In the figure 1, the use of raw materials such as latex, the manufacturing process and

the use along with the transportation and waste produced due to the production of condom is

portrayed in the flow. Due to the production of condoms, huge quantity of waste is generated

in all the levels of production. While in the extraction phase of the raw materials, the barks of

the trees that are taken down for the process, are the waste. Similarly, the excess materials

that do not get used in the manufacturing becomes the waste. Likewise, all the condoms that





Raw Materials
– Latex

-Silicone oil


-Barks of latex








curing or post-







– Unused Materials


– condom dipping lines

– electronic testing machines

-equipment for the measurement of

burst volume and burst pressure

– machine for the detection of



– Electricity

– Fuel

– Labour

Final Product


-Used Condoms

Use of the product





get used cannot be reused or recycled, hence, every unit that gets produced eventually

becomes waste. Moreover, huge amount of fuel and energy gets used in order to produce

condoms, which has negative impact on the environment in the long run.




ATHEY, T. W. (1992). Effectiveness of Latex Condoms As a Barrier to Human

Immunodeficiency Virus-sized Particles Under Conditions of Simulated Use. Sexually

Transmitted Diseases, 19(4).

Htat, H. W., Longfield, K., Mundy, G., Win, Z., & Montagu, D. (2015). A total market

approach for condoms in Myanmar. Supplement: Symposium on the Private Sector in

Health: Sydney 2013, 30.

Matsumoto, Y. S., Koizumi, A., & Nohara, T. (1972). Condom Use in Japan. Studies in

Family Planning, 3(10), 251. mailto:

Reproductive Health Matters. (2006). Condoms, Yes! “Abstinence”, No. Taylor & Francis,

Ltd., 14(28).

Trussell, J., Warner, D. L., & Hatcher, R. A. (1992). Condom Slippage and Breakage Rates.

Family Planning Perspectives, 24(1), 20.

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