BTMA members are pursuing the use of recycled, recovered and bio-sourced materials in new tyres without loss of functional performance. Several major manufacturers have committed to producing tyres from 100% sustainable raw materials by 2050.
BTMA members have already developed alternative sources of natural rubber (a key constituent of truck and bus tyres) to relieve pressure on supplies from rainforest plantations and have launched pilot plants to produce synthetic rubber from biomass. Tyre manufacturers are now using soy bean-based extender oils and silica produced from rice husks, and will soon be using textile reinforcement derived from recycled plastic bottles made from PET.
Research is ongoing into increasing the proportion of finely-ground rubber from end-of-life tyres that can be incorporated in new tyres without detriment to functional performance.
The pyrolysis of end-of-life tyres offers several pathways to material re-use including recovered carbon black and feedstock for the manufacture of synthetic rubber, both of which have the potential for use in new tyres. Several industrial-scale tyre pyrolysis plants are under development in the UK.
- Measures to stimulate the recovery and use of high-level secondary raw materials from tyres offer the triple win of improved recovery outcomes, UK contribution to the regenerative circular economy for tyres and potential UK export growth.
- Care is needed not to undermine the economics of the recovery of secondary raw materials from tyres through support for the production of low carbon transport fuels.