Global tire giant Bridgestone has unveiled a new demonstration tire made from with 75 percent recycled and renewable materials, which executives hailed as a "significant milestone" towards its goal of producing tires using fully sustainable materials.
Announcing the move late last week, the company said it was preparing to test the run of 200 tires on electric SUVs.
The tires are made using 37 percent recycled materials, including recycled steel, recycled carbon black, recycled rubber chemicals and synthetic rubber produced using recycled plastic bottles and other materials.
The recycled content is mixed with bio-based materials which make up 38 percent of the tire, including plant-based oils, bio-based silica from rice husk ash and natural rubber extracted from both the conventional hevea plant in south east Asia and guayule — a desert plant grown in the U.S., thought to have lower environmental impacts than conventional rubber cultivation.
The tire is the first street tire to be made using rubber derived from the guayule plant, the subject of a $100 million R&D program from Bridgestone over the past decade. The company said the plant has the potential to provide an alternative to imported rubber and can be produced in the drought-hit south of the U.S. while having less of an impact on water supplies than existing crops in the region. It added that it is aiming to deliver commercial production of guayule-derived rubber by the end of the decade.
The company said the tire represented a major boost to its ongoing project to develop a tire made using 90 percent recycled and renewable material.
It added that many materials used in the tire had been certified through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS scheme.
The initial run of 200 tires was also produced at the company's Aiken plant in South Carolina, which boasts an 8-acre solar array on site.
"As we progress in our transformation to a sustainable solutions company, we are making incredible progress in the use of recycled and renewable materials to bring sustainable tire technology from the drawing board to the driveway," said Paolo Ferrari, president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas. "The production and deployment of a 75 percent recycled and renewable materials tire technology marks a significant milestone as we accelerate our progress toward using fully sustainable materials in our products by 2050."