BridgestoneAmericas has announced an investment of $60 million to expand its Bridgestone Bandag manufacturing plant in Abilene, Texas. The 50,000-square-foot expansion of the Abilene plant is aimed at the growing demand for the company’s tread rubber products, driven by the rapid growth of its retread business. Tire retreading takes the tread of a worn out tire and applies new tread, extending the life of the tire.
Since 1957, Bandag has been responsible for keeping approximately 300 million tires out of the waste system, which helps reduce material emissions, water and energy use associated with the production of a new tire. The Bandag retreading process has also saved four billion gallons of oil since it began 50 years ago, the company says.
This expansion will allow Bridgestone to increase the Abilene plant’s output of these recycled tires by 16%, creating more accessibility in the marketplace for environmentally friendly products.
The expansion includes an immediate increase in operational activity by running on six and seven-day production schedules, as well as the construction of new mixing operations at the facility. The mixing operations are expected to be completed and in operation by January 2025.
In April, Bridgestone partnered with Carbon Capture and Transformation company LanzaTech to develop a scaled solution for recycling end-of-life tires. The two companies will co-develop an end-of-life tire recycling process leveraging LanzaTech’s CCT technology, creating a pathway toward tire material circularity and the decarbonization of new tire production.
According to the Tire Industry Project operating under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), more than one billion tires globally reach the end of their useful service life each year. Bridgestone and LanzaTech will work to address this issue by converting end-of-life tires into new materials, including exploring processes to create sustainable synthetic rubber that does not rely on petrochemicals.
The company also recently developed a silicone-based tire sealant that can be more easily recycled and promotes circular use of tire materials.