We all have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment. Fortunately, more of us are aware of those harmful everyday habits previous generations overlooked than ever today. For example, widespread coverage of plastic pollution has encouraged people to cut down on plastic consumption and take advantage of alternatives. And that’s a crucial aspect of building a greener global culture, considering eight million pieces of plastic enter oceans every single day, posing significant danger to marine life.
One problematic product billions of people use every single day is the humble car tyre. It’s so easy to take them for granted, but microplastics from tyres find their way into the sea too, alongside the likes of water bottles. Old tyres have simply been dumped in landfills or even burned for too long, rather than being recycled or repurposed.
But leading tyre manufacturers are aware of the problem and are committed to finding eco-friendly solutions across all aspects of the production process.
Driving the Way to Greener Tyre Manufacturing
One company acting to reduce its environmental impact is Giti Tire. This brand has a long, rich history in the world of tyre production, with roots stretching back to the early 1950s. It reaches a worldwide audience across over 130 nations and operates a network of eight production centers in three countries, including the USA.
Giti Tire is certainly prolific and well-known, and hopefully its changes will inspire other tyre manufacturers to embrace a greener ethos. What steps has it taken?
It utilises a ‘green supply chain system’ that emphasises a cleaner production methodology, reuse, recycling and reduction. It aims to minimise its waste emissions and has cut its usage of fresh water by almost half.
The company consumes almost a quarter less coal now than it did a decade ago and has become involved in various conservation efforts in local communities (such as planting trees).
Taking such strides isn’t easy for any company, no matter how big or small it may be. Adopting eco-friendlier approach to tyre manufacturing demands careful strategising, an innovative mindset and serious investment.
But as businesses face greater pressure to cut down on emissions and make products less damaging to the environment, tyre manufacturers must be proactive. One of the most fascinating breakthroughs is the movement to leverage dandelions to produce tyres.
Yes, you read that right: dandelions.
The tyre industry has typically depended on around two-thirds of the planet’s natural rubber from trees in Southeast Asia, but dandelions may be a much cleaner, sustainable option for the future.
How? A dandelion found in Kazakhstan contains a fluid in its taproot featuring particles of tire-grade rubber. It’s hoped that dandelion plantations could reduce rubber-related deforestation and help to make tyre manufacturing far eco-friendlier than ever before.
Tyres produced through a cleaner process with materials so easy to source could make a powerful complement to the electric car, offering the public a greener way to drive.
Taking on the Resistance
Rolling resistance is another element of tyre manufacturing that can benefit the environment. Companies producing tyres with a lower rolling resistance help reduce drivers’ fuel consumption and C02 emissions over time.
Rolling resistance refers to the amount of energy consumed through a tyre’s deformation as it connects with a surface, and this can be affected by certain aspects of the tyre’s manufacture. For example, the pressure, durability, temperature and load index all contribute to the energy consumed while driving.
On a more selfish note, tyres with low rolling resistance can save drivers money too, due to the reduction in their fuel consumption. This additional perk helps motivate consumers with little to no interest in the environment to switch to more eco-friendly tyres.
The EU tyre labelling scheme shows you how fuel-efficient tyres are, on a rating scale from A to G. Take a look next time you’re shopping for tyres, and you could end up doing your part to cultivate a cleaner world.
After the Manufacturing Process
Sustainability and environmental-friendliness extend well beyond the tyre manufacturing process, though, as we’ve discovered with low rolling resistance. Another major step in making tyres cleaner and less harmful to our planet is through effective reuse.
Recycling tyres once they’re no longer safe to drive on is another key link in the green chain, though tyres can be difficult to recycle given the different materials used in their manufacture (rubber, steel etc.).
Recycled tyres are granulated and transformed into a base material for a wealth of different products, across numerous industries. Whenever you meet roof tiles, carpet underlays, running tracks and even drainage systems, you could be benefitting from recycled tyres.
Recycling tyres isn’t just logical, but essential. They can no longer just be added to landfills when unusable, a rule which has been in place for some time as part of the the European Union’s directions on waste. This applies to whole and shredded tyres alike.
Every tyre manufacturer must ensure their products can be recycled as easily and effectively as possible, for the good of the environment and future generations inheriting our world.
Sustainability and eco-friendly processes are vital considerations for tyre manufacturers today. Businesses have a responsibility to streamline production techniques to minimise unnecessary consumption of energy and to bring tyres posing a reduced risk to the environment to the market.
Some leading tyre manufacturers are acting to encourage sustainable, greener products, and should be commended for that. To support them, drivers must switch to the most fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly tyres available.
Have you paid attention to the EU labels on your tyres? What are your thoughts on the future of tyre manufacturing? Share below!