Finding another purpose for single-use plastics
With “sustainability” being the buzzword that it is these days, we’re getting used to seeing automakers coming up with new ways to incorporate more recycled materials in their cars, usually in their interiors. But tyres? That’s a new one.
Continental has just introduced tyres that feature recycled PET bottles in their construction, under the ContiRe.Tex moniker. In this technological development, recycled drinks bottles are cleaned and shredded mechanically, after which the PET granules are spun into a polyester yarn.
This yarn is then used to make the cords that run from bead to bead, across the tyre’s width. This horseshoe-shaped layer could be considered the backbone of the tire, as it sustains loads and absorbs shocks, thus is crucial for tyre durability and comfort. About 40 bottles’ worth of plastic go into each tyre.
The green aspect of this process comes about because it negates the need for virgin PET derived from petroleum products, and as the ContiRe.Tex’s recycling procedure is mechanical, it does without the chemical steps that might normally be associated with the recycling process.
At this stage, ContiRe.Tex will only have a limited rollout, with the material featuring in just 5 sizes each of Continental’s EcoContact6, PremiumContact6, and AllSeasonContact models (click here for details). They can be identified with a “Contains Recycled Material” logo on the sidewall.