Where old tyres go

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - B Y R OY B E R E N D S O H N

Ev­ery year, the Miche­lin tyre com­pany gath­ers the smartest minds in trans­porta­tion for Movin’on, three days of ex­pert pan­els, pre­sen­ta­tions, and peo­ple wear­ing lan­yard ID tags. It’s a tyre con­ven­tion – and it’s fas­ci­nat­ing. This year, en­gi­neers at Miche­lin showed off a plan to make new tyres from 80 per cent re­new­able ma­te­ri­als such as wood, straw, or beets (yes, se­ri­ously). Why does Miche­lin spend more than $800 mil­lion (R11.3 bil­lion) ev­ery sin­gle year re­search­ing sus­tain­abil­ity so it can make tyres out of root veg­eta­bles? Be­cause the mod­ern tyre – more specif­i­cally, its dis­posal – is a filthy busi­ness. Each year, au­to­mo­biles pro­duce 246 mil­lion waste tyres in the United States alone. How to re­duce that as­ton­ish­ing num­ber is a huge chal­lenge, so press­ing that it has cre­ated its own in­dus­try ded­i­cated to re­cy­cling ef­fi­ciency.

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