The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) and its members Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber SA are leading the way in improving the industry’s impact on the environment, SATMC highlights.
It notes in a statement that the industry is currently focussing on four main areas of improvement – the proper mutilation and disposal of waste tyres, a reduction of materials used in manufacturing tyres, the sustainable sourcing of materials and a reduction in carbon emissions.
“In South Africa, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) is the custodian of the Waste Tyre Management Plan (WTMP).
“According to the WTMP, local tyre manufacturers pay a levy of R2.30 per kg to fund the proper treatment and disposal of waste tyres – helping curb pollution. This means that in order to limit the impact on the environment of waste tyres, tyre manufacturers pay a levy to the DFFE to facilitate proper disposal of these waste tyres.
“The fundamentals of having this work properly is critical for the tyre industry as it ensures waste tyres are disposed of correctly to limit the impact on the environment and that they do not find a way back into the market,” explains SATMC managing executive Nduduzo Chala.
Waste tyres that are resold are illegal and are a safety risk for consumers, SATMC emphasises.
Another way of reducing the number of waste tyres that end up in landfills is upcycling – repurposing a product into something with an entirely different use or purpose, SATMC says.
Examples of upcycled tyre products include dog beds, tyre ottomans and furniture, see-saws and bicycle stands. Tyres are durable and produce quality products that can be exposed to the elements, the organisation notes.
Virtual tyre modelling technology allows Bridgestone to create a digital twin of a tyre at its development stage, reducing the volume of physical prototype tyres and raw materials needed.
Bridgestone’s ENLITEN Technology is noted to drastically reduce the raw materials used in the production of tyres, saving resources and negating waste.
Goodyear’s overall corporate responsibility includes the sustainable sourcing of materials. The company is exploring using a soybean oil tread compound in four of its tyre lines to create more sustainable rubber with added traction benefits.
It also uses rice husk ash silicate, which helps deliver similar performance to traditional sand-based silica with less environmental impact and waste to landfills.
Sumitomo Rubber SA has installed a 1 MW solar system on its Truck and Bus Radial production facility roof to reduce its emissions from electricity consumption.
Meanwhile, Continental Tyre South Africa won the Industrial Corporate Project of the Year award for innovative industrial energy management projects and outstanding contributions to the energy industry.
Continental received this award for a heat recovery project that saved 4.5-million kilowatt-hours of energy and over R1-million in 2019. This continues to benefit operating efficiencies and reduce the plant’s environmental impact, SATMC notes.
The Ecopia, an environment-friendly and fuel-efficient new tyre presented by Bridgestone, combines a unique tyre compound with fine detailing. This tyre reduces fuel consumption and also boasts a quieter ride and improved road holding, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.