Following the joint call to action around recovered carbon black at the 2021 Smithers rCB conference, Bridgestone Corporation and Michelin Group have published a joint technical white paper to share the results of their work with stakeholders in the rCB community to develop a proposed global standard to increase the use of recovered carbon black material in tires.
Today, fewer than 1% of all carbon black material used globally in new tire production comes from recycled end-of-life tires, the companies say, due to a sub-optimal supply chain for the recovery and reuse of carbon black.
In 2022, the two companies released a position paper focused on the joint initiative to increase the use of recovered carbon black. The paper outlined the reasoning behind this important call to action and the goals that Bridgestone and Michelin plan to achieve through this collaboration.
Bridgestone and Michelin collaborated with recovered carbon black (rCB) suppliers and other stakeholders in the value chain to define initial proposals for standards, including grades, specifications and awareness of quality and performance requirements for the tire industry. They have produced a set of definitions, proposed specifications and guidelines for regulatory requirements, as well as a foundation for supporting the growth of the rCB industry.
Recovered carbon black presents an opportunity to reduce the tire industry’s reliance on petrochemicals by replacing a portion of traditional carbon black with a sustainable and circular alternative without introducing performance compromises. Additionally, using recovered carbon black in new tire production can reduce CO2 emissions in new tire production by up to 85% compared to virgin materials.
“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 at 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.”
Fabien Gaboriaud, senior VP of sustainable materials and circularity at Michelin, said, “The partnership between Bridgestone and Michelin serves as a prime illustration of this transition, aimed at fostering the development of a novel value chain for reclaimed carbon black. The conversion of end-of-life Tires into cutting-edge materials that can be reused in our tires marks a significant initial stride toward achieving our goal of 40% recycled and renewable sustainable materials by 2030.”
The joint white paper, Bridgestone & Michelin: Recovered Carbon Black Guidelines, can be found on rcbrubber.com