Dandelions can be used to create a natural rubber that can be used in tires. This weed will be put to a good use!
“No matter how much chemistry we’ve applied, we still haven’t been able to find an artificial substitute for natural rubber,” said William Ravlin, a researcher involved in the project. “We’re still harvesting [rubber] the same way they did 1,000 years ago; by cutting into the tree and letting the sap drip into containers. It’s not a very efficient system.”
I keep noticing that a lot of these natural solutions to our current problems were actually being used years ago. Our civilization just gets wrapped up in its own “progress” and we forget what we knew. From the same article on dandelions:
The price for rubber, which has doubled in recent years, along with technological advances, makes alternative sources of natural rubber more attractive than past efforts, which reach all the way back to World War II, when the Soviets made TKS-based tires.