Tire makers Bridgestone and Michelin are to deliver a shared perspective on material circularity and their ambition to increase the use of recovered carbon black material in tires. The presentation will take place at the Smithers Recovered Carbon Black Conference on November 22, 2021, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Each year it is estimated that one billion tires reach the end of their service life globally, and despite technical challenges surrounding the recycling and recovery of materials from end-of-life tires having been overcome, the industry is still falling short of achieving a sustainable material circularity.
At present, less than 1% of carbon black material used worldwide for the production of new tires comes from those that have reached the end of their service life. This is due to a weak supply pipeline for the recovery and reuse of the carbon black material. By utilizing recovered carbon black, the tire industry will be able to reduce its reliance on petrochemicals and also reduce CO2 emissions by up to 85% when producing new tires compared with using virgin materials.
In Amsterdam both companies will outline ways to promote and increase the use of recovered carbon black for the production of new tires and rubber products. Both Bridgestone and Michelin seek to establish a range of stakeholders, including tire manufacturers, carbon black suppliers, pyrolysis partners and technology startups, to speed up the adoption and supply of the recovered material.
“Increasing use of recovered carbon black in tires is critical to achieving Bridgestone’s vision for sustainable mobility,” said Jake Rønsholt, vice president of strategy and transformation, Bridgestone Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. “Together with Michelin and other stakeholders, we can generate critical momentum on this important initiative and advance our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and manufacture products from fully renewable and sustainable materials.”
“For years discussions have been ongoing about the different constraints and hurdles that were preventing the rubber industry to adopt recycled and or recovered raw materials in significant quantities,” commented Sander Vermeulen, vice president, end-of-life rubber products recycling business, Michelin. “We felt it was the time to stop discussing and actively contribute to finding solutions that would enable the rubber industry as a whole to become more circular by increasing its ability to adopt recycled and or recovered materials from end-of-life tires.”
Jointly, both companies will develop a position paper that aims to outline the tire industry’s role in achieving a circular economy, and they plan to release a white paper in late 2022 outlining technical requirements, characteristics and proposed solutions to increase the utilization of recovered carbon black in new tires.