Michelin uses Technology and Innovation to achieve Sustainability by 2050
Globally, more than 1 billion tyres reach their end-of-life each year, and the un-recycled Tyre waste has been identified as a global problem.
A worn out tyre is often dumped in a landfill or burnt or occasionally recycled. Did you know USA produces over 290 million waste tyres a year, and with rapidly increasing vehicle sales in India and China, we will contribute a large fraction to the waste.
The adverse effects of improperly disposing tyres are many. Here are some quick facts on rubber tyres:
- On an average 1 billion tyres reach the landfills each year and the number is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2030
- Only a small portion of the tyres manufactured are recycled, the remaining are stockpiled, or Landfilled or buried
- Tyre waste if stockpiled poses environmental, economic and health risks from air, water and land pollution
- A rubber tyre that reaches the landfill takes up to 80 years to naturally degrade, in the process toxic chemicals leach into the soil or the nearest waterways
- If burnt, the harmful gases adversely impact the health of the environment and the residue left behind pollutes the soil
Around the world, governments have identified this growing issue and rolled out laws that will ensure the worn out tyres are dealt with either through take-back programs or through EPR.
Canada and Belgium have laws which puts the onus of collecting and recycling worn out tyres on the manufacturer.
In a recent development, Tyre manufacturing giant Michelin, published a detailed plan to make all their tyres 100% sustainable by 2050. In a bid to fulfil their EPR requirements, their expert teams have resorted to ‘upstream innovation’, which increases a tyres recyclability.
Using collaborations and innovations as their magic wand, the company reached out to and heavily invested their time and resources in finding sustainable and environment friendly solutions.
To achieve its targets, the company has partnered with multiple industries and organisations such as:
- Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles for R&D on recycled bio-sourced material to manufacture their tyres
- Pyroware, a Canada based company will produce recycled styrene from plastic packaging such as yoghurt pots, food trays and insulating panels etc. The styrene produced in an important monomer in the manufacturing of various consumer goods.
- Carbios for degrading PET using enzymes which will convert the complex polymers into monomers, which can be used to make PET Plastic.
- Enviro to setup its first tyre recycling plant which uses patented technology, enabling the recovery and reuse of tires in many rubber-based production processes
Such extensive collaboration and investments into R&D in tyres is extremely important in the current times where is there is rapid rise in the tyre waste.
In India, Tyre recycling has been carried out for over 4 decades, making it the second largest producer of reclaimed rubber, after China. In 2011, India produced 90,000 MT of reclaimed rubber from worn out tyres.
However, there is a significant gap in demand and supply. Majority of the industries resort to imported rubber waste rather than using local rubber waste. One key reason for this is the absence of a robust channel to help the recyclers link to the waste generators.
Recykal’s digital technology is on its way to help channelize this waste and bridge the wide gap in the “tyre world”.
So lets not “tyre out” and recycle our waste!