Michelin has announced its ambitious plan to ensure that by 2048, all of its tires are manufactured using 80% sustainable materials and 100% of all end-of-life tires are recycled.
Today, the worldwide recovery rate for tires is 70% and the recycling rate is 50%. Michelin tires are currently made using 28% sustainable materials (26% bio-sourced materials such as natural rubber, sunflower oil, limonene etc, and 2% recycled materials such as steel or recycled powdered tires). The tire maker plans to invest in state-of-the-art recycling technologies to be able to increase this content to 80% sustainable materials.
The goals will be achieved by research programs into bio-sourced materials such as Biobutterfly and working with Michelin’s partners, and the advanced technologies and materials that are being developed under these partnerships. The Biobutterfly program was launched in 2012 with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beet.
Michelin is developing solutions to integrate more and more recycled and renewable materials in its tires, while continuing to improve performance, including 30% of recycled materials by 2048. This is demonstrated by the company’s recent acquisition of Lehigh, a specialist in micro-powders derived from recycled tires.
Christophe Rahier, director of the high-technology materials business at Michelin, said, “This acquisition demonstrates Michelin’s strategic determination to capitalize on its expertise in high-tech materials, in areas that extend beyond the field of tires. In particular, by promoting the use of innovative recycled materials from tires in a variety of non-pneumatic industrial sectors.”