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The proper recovery and reuse of end-of-life tires (ELT) help to contribute to a circular economy, where they can be seen as a useful resource. Goodyear plays an important role in managing ELT at our own locations and through promoting the reuse of ELT through new markets. However, proper ELT management requires a multi-stakeholder approach because tire replacement often occurs in locations outside of a tire manufacturer’s control and ELT management involves many actors along the value chain. In order to do our part, Goodyear:
• Promotes the proper management of ELT in our company-owned retail locations;
• Conducts research and collaborates with external organizations on the development of ELT recovery methods and uses of ELT as raw materials; and
• Actively collaborates with industry peers through TIP and RTTAs to advance industry-wide ELT management systems.
Globally, a number of ELT recovery systems are already highly developed, such as in Europe, Japan and the US, with recovery rates of 92%, 92% and 81%, respectively.1 However, we will continue to work internally and collaborate with our industry peers in the search for improvement with the goal of reaching 100% recovery for all tires worldwide.
According to the latest USTMA Scrap Tire report, almost 76% of scrap tires in the U.S. were recycled into products such as rubber modified asphalt, new manufactured automotive products and mulch for landscaping and other products, or used as tire-derived fuel. This is down from 96% in 2013, when scrap tire recycling peaked.
Within Goodyear, a cross-functional team contributes to the successful management of ELT from our company-owned locations, reviews current trends in ELT management, develops internal activities for new technology related to the use and recovery of ELT as a raw material, and aligns on regional ELT activities where we operate and sell tires.
Goodyear’s SVP Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer and regional presidents oversee the internal teams that managed our involvement in ELT recovery in 2020. In 2020, we also began collecting metrics on the recovery routes from our company-owned retail and commercial truck locations based on the TIP ELT Waste Hierarchy, and a common reporting methodology, to better understand the disposal of ELT we manage. Collecting this information from our waste management vendors for ELT will allow us to further advance the beneficial reuse of ELT.
Goodyear is also working to develop ELT as a raw material, promoting a circular economy. Goodyear tires may contain recycled materials, such as recycled rubber compounds that may include devulcanized butyl rubber, which has been used by Goodyear for more than 20 years. It comes from used truck tubes and can replace virgin polymer and carbon black to a limited extent in the liner compound. Other devulcanized rubbers and ground rubbers from ELT can be used in various tire compounds. Tire materials such as steel in bead wire or steel cord may contain recycled content (pre- or post-consumer) where the recycled material may vary. We are exploring additional opportunities to use recycled materials in our tires such as recycled styrene for use in making styrene butadiene rubber. We also continue to investigate traditional recycling processes that provide acceptable properties beyond our current applications and are looking to collaborate with customers to support beneficial reuse of tires.
We continue our active involvement in TIP’s work to promote ELT recovery routes, especially in developing nations, and its research regarding emerging uses for ELT, such as rubber-modified asphalt and the development of new markets. In addition to our work with TIP, we are also active in the USTMA’s and ETRMA’s advocacy and ELT market development efforts.