Speakers from Continental, Pirelli and Bridgestone at the Future Tire conference in Cologne spoke in depth about sustainability. For recyclers in the audience, and there were fewer than there should have been, perhaps, there were some home truths hidden in the presentations.
Sustainability Is Not Recycling
Of the three main tyre manufacturers, Continental is at the forefront of using recylates, but currently their level of inclusion is quite low, around 5%, with a view to increasing this to 10% by 2025. However, much of the recyclate currently used is in-house production waste being reincorporated in compounds.
Bridgestone and Pirelli representatives spoke briefly about around 3-4% inclusion. Recycling was something they hoped to improve but it was not high on their list of priorities.
There was much talk about the sustainable tyre and making the tyre recyclable, which it already is, but we have to ask, what is the point in a 100% recyclable tyre is the tyre manufacturer can only use maybe 5% of the material? Where is the support from the tyre industry to develop alternative markets to consume the other 95% of their arisings?
Recyclers need to talk more to manufacturers as a body and tyre manufacturers need to talk to recyclers. Fazilet Cinaralp of ETRMA suggested that there was a clear need for more cooperation between recyclers and manufacturers and she hoped that the latest initiatives by BIR would go somewhay to creating a platform where the two could come together.