Remember around 20 years when tire companies announced they were looking into things like how alternate sources of rubber can be extracted from things like plants? You might have thought, gee, that’s light years away…and it sounds kind of weird…how will that work?
Well, light years away have arrived, and tiremakers are making their manufacturing processes more and more sustainable. With that, has come the sustainability of tire components. Let’s dig into some recent developments in sustainable tire technology in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.
Tire manufacturers are increasingly trying to make their products more sustainable, but sustainability starts at the source. This is why many tire manufacturers, including Continental, are thinking about their sources of natural rubber.
For example, manufacturers like Continental have added cultivating sustainably sourced natural rubber to their corporate sustainability initiatives. This means that they’ve set a goal that the natural rubber they use in their tires is responsibly sourced and from a renewable resource with a transparent supply chain. It also means that they have committed to upholding human rights, minimizing environmental impacts, and improving the livelihood and productivity of the communities of workers that cultivate the natural rubber, all while having a fair and equitable value chain.
But it goes further than that. As I said, tire manufacturers are finding ways to cut back on cultivating natural rubber, which is a dwindling resource, and use alternate sources of natural rubber through plants and other recyclable materials. We’ll use Continental as an example again. For years, the company has been researching rubber that can be extracted from Russian dandelions. In fact, in 2016, the company released its first commercial tires made from natural rubber derived from dandelion roots
Last year, Continental announced it was repurposing waste from things like plastic bottles to produce recycled polyester yarn. The material completely replaces the conventional polyester in the carcass of the select Conti tires.
Other manufacturers are researching and implementing countless other ways to make their supply chains more sustainable. In the end, it’s all about creating an environment in the industry that reduces waste and promotes positive practices.