Source: Deloitte study – TIP 2019 – 45 countries
 “Global ELT Management – A global state of knowledge on regulation, management systems, impacts of recovery and technologies”, WBCSD & Tire Industry Project
Ever wondered what happens to your old tires when you get them replaced? Below we explore the reality behind car tire recycling and how Michelin works to promote their recycling, while constantly striving to reduce the environmental impact of its own products.
Can car tires be recycled?
Whether you’re driving the daily commute or taking epic cross-country trips on weekends, after enough time on the road, your car tires eventually start to show signs of wear. Once your tires reach a tread depth of 1.6mm, you need to replace them to ensure maximum safety on the road, as well as remaining law compliant.
Sometimes you may need to swap them out sooner due to damage, punctures... This car tire disposal leads to around 30 million tons of tires being replaced and potentially thrown away every year, worldwide!
But what if we told you that car tires can be recycled? The tire industry is actually one of the most advanced sectors in end-of-life product management. Approximately 88% of end-of-life tires are now collected, the majority of which are recovered , which is pretty impressive when you consider that only 14% of plastic packaging is converted through recycling.
Before the tire recycling phase, Michelin is taking action at every stage in the lifecycle of its products to reduce its environmental impact.
What are car tires made of?
Although they may look simple, car tires are actually made of over 200 different materials. These include natural and synthetic rubber, carbon black and silica, reinforcing fillers, steel and textile reinforcements, and chemical agents.
What’s the structure of a car tire?
Most car tires consist of different layers, which adds another level of complexity to the tire recycling process as manufacturers like Michelin work on developing innovative new methods and technologies to facilitate the reuse of all the different elements. These car tire layers usually integrates synthetic rubber, textile fibre cords, metal cords, ...
How does car tire recycling work?
The rubber tire recycling process often begins at the dealer’s, when you bring in your car to have the old, worn-out tires replaced.
You can also take your tires to a tire recycling plant, or household waste recycling centres. However, there may be a limit to how many you can take, and you may also be charged.
Michelin is actively contributing to the development of the tire recycling industry by becoming involved in tire collection systems in many countries around the world.
The Michelin group is investing in tire recycling and developing innovative, breakthrough technologies in collaboration with its partners in order to transform worn tires or waste into regenerated raw materials.
- Enviro: a pyrolysis technology used to recover materials such as carbon black, oils,and gas.
- Lehigh Technologies: a technology that allows for recycling end-of-life rubber products into micronized rubber products.
- Michelin coordinates or contributes to research programs like BlackCycle, which aims to develop a full value chain from end-of-life tire feedstock to secondary raw materials (with 7 industrial partners, 5 research & technological organizations (RTOs) and an innovation cluster spanning 5 countries).
End-of-life recycling solution
Tire recycling near you
Contact your local council to find out more information about tire recycling near you. Some countries have online databases where you can find your nearest recycling centre that offers car tire disposal facilities.
Need new tires? Find a MICHELIN tire dealer near you :
Why does car tire recycling matter?
Car tire disposal via recycling or car tire recycling is just one of many ways that we can work together to reduce the environmental footprint of a tire’s lifecycle, from manufacturing to end-of-life.
Michelin uses eco-design principles to limit the environmental impact of its tires at every stage in their lifecycle, from the supply of raw materials and production to the use and recycling phases.
As part of its All-Sustainable approach, Michelin is taking action within the industry alongside its stakeholders and industry partners to promote tire recycling while constantly striving to reduce the environmental impact of its products. By 2050, it aims to have tires made from 100% sustainable materials, while also improving the tire energy efficiency by 10% in 2030 compared to 2020.
Reducing its impact doesn’t just stop there – Michelin is also optimising transport logistics, designing tires that reduce fuel and energy consumption, just like the MICHELIN e·PRIMACY tire, and working with other manufacturers to develop cutting-edge new recycling processes that will help transform waste into raw materials.
This circular economy approach is characterized by Michelin’s 4Rs approach: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew.
By raising awareness and helping to limit the environmental impacts associated with end-of-life tires, Michelin aims to develop the recycling sector around the world. In Chile, for example, Michelin is building its first earthmover tire recycling plant, where an end-to-end experience will be offered, i.e collecting old tires and reusing regenerated materials.
Find out more on the Group’s Sustainable Development and Mobility strategy that aims to make Michelin one of the most innovative, responsible, and high-performing companies worldwide across all of its responsibilities: economic, environmental, social and societal on michelin.com.
 Source: Deloitte study – TIP 2019 – 45 countries