Recycled rubber – Michelin makes tires from old PET bottles

Tire manufacturer Michelin intends to use huge amounts of recycled PET bottles for tire production in the future. But that’s just the beginning: By 2050, Michelin even wants to manufacture tires from 100 percent sustainable materials (see video!).

The recycled material replaces new PET plastic fibers, of which all tire manufacturers worldwide together require 800,000 tons annually. The amount of fibers required by Michelin alone is equivalent to around 3 billion PET bottles.

A new process from Michelin technology partner Carbio breaks down the PET contained in plastics through enzymatic recycling. The fibers can then be re-polymerized. In this way, all types of PET waste can be recycled indefinitely. The technical fibers obtained in this way also meet the quality standards required for tire production.

“We are very proud to be the first to produce and test recycled technical fibers for tires. These reinforcements were made from colored bottles and recycled using enzymatic technology from our partner Carbios, ”said Nicolas Seeboth, Director of Polymer Research at Michelin. “These high-tech reinforcements have proven that they can perform as well as those from the oil industry.”

Michelin intends to use 40 percent sustainable materials from renewable or recycled sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.