Continental has launched volume production of recycled polyester yarn, which is obtained from PET plastic bottles. The new high-performance material will first be used in select sizes for Continental’s PremiumContact 6 and EcoContact 6 summer tires and the AllSeasonContact tire, Continental says.
Recycled polyester yarn completely replaces the conventional polyester in the carcass of the selected tires. A set of standard passenger car tires uses the material from around 40 recycled PET bottles, the company said.
In September 2021, Continental unveiled the in-house ContiRe.Tex technology for the first time. It uses polyester yarn obtained from used PET bottles without any intermediate chemical steps and not recycled in any other way, the company says. This makes the technology much more efficient than other standard methods for processing PET bottles into high-performance polyester yarn, Continental says. The bottles used for the technology come from regions without a closed recycling loop. As part of a special recycling process, the bottles are sorted and mechanically cleaned after the caps are removed. After mechanical shredding, the PET is further processed into granulate and finally spun into polyester yarn.
All tires with ContiRe.Tex technology are being produced in Continental’s tire plant in Lousado, Portugal. Tires with ContiRe.Tex technology have a special logo on the sidewall.
Polyester yarn made from PET has long been used as a material in passenger and light truck tire assembly. The textile cords absorb the forces of the tire’s internal pressure and remain dimensionally stable even under high loads and temperatures, Continental says.