Report Focuses on Recovered Carbon Black for Tire Circularity

A pile of old tires

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Nov 7, 2023

Bridgestone and Michelin have released a joint report proposing standards for recovering carbon black material from end-of-life tires for reuse in new tire production.

The report shares the results of the tire companies’ work with stakeholders within the recovered carbon black industry, along with a global standard for increasing the use of recovered carbon black in tires. The companies aim to establish specifications for recycled and recovered raw materials, coordinate with regulatory bodies to standardize these practices, and eventually partner with stakeholders on future technologies that may improve recycling for end-of-life tires.

Recycled Carbon Black Reduces Emissions, Faces Supply Chain Barriers

Carbon black is a filler added to rubber to make tires durable and long-lasting, and it is a byproduct of various petroleum products. Using recycled carbon black in new tires has been found to reduce carbon emissions in new tire production by up to 85% by reducing the industry’s reliance on petrochemicals.

According to the companies, about one billion tires reach the end of their useful service life annually, and the tire industry reportedly faces a number of market obstacles in attempting to scale up material circularity. Less than 1% of carbon black used in new tires currently derives from recycled tires due to supply chain barriers for recovery and reuse.

“No one company can deliver the supply chain advancements necessary to achieve our shared aim of a more sustainable and circular tire economy,” said Marco Musaio, head of end-of-life tire and circular economy for Bridgestone Europe. “The use of recovered carbon black in tires is a critical element of our efforts to achieve products that are made from 100% sustainable materials by 2050.”

EV Tires Present Increased Need for Recycling, Circularity Efforts

Tire recycling may take on further importance as electric vehicles become more widespread. Reports have indicated that heavy EV batteries have contributed to quicker tire wear, which may lead to an even greater amount of end-of-life tires. Especially as the quantity of discarded tires is reportedly increasing, the tire industry has introduced plans to streamline and bolster tire recycling efforts.

Earlier this year, Enviro Systems and Antin Infrastructure Partners established a joint venture to create the world’s first large-scale tire recycling group, including the creation of new tire recycling plants. The agreement also included a multi-year supply agreement with Michelin for the first series of plants. Michelin and Bridgestone both have set targets to use 100% sustainable materials in their tires by 2050 and aim to encourage the industry at large to make similar moves toward circularity.

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