Can tyres really be environmentally friendly?

What you should consider before buying sustainable tyres in Queensland

One tyre trend that I’ve noticed growing in the last few years is with concern about the environment. More people buying tyres are asking ‘green’ questions, and major tyre manufacturers are producing more sustainable tyres.

In this article, you’ll learn how sustainable tyres differ from ‘ordinary’ tyres, and what you should consider before investing in a set of these new environmentally friendly tyres.

What do people want from ‘green’ tyres?

As the world goes green, there’s increasing awareness of the impact that tyres have on the environment. The biggest and most talked about impact is fuel consumption. Tyre manufacturers have spent fortunes on research and development to decrease fuel consumption. Modern tyres now grip the road better, offer a safer and more comfortable drive, and offer less road resistance. All these factors mean you drive further between refuelling stops.

Next on the list is concern about the raw materials used in the manufacture of tyres. Again, tyre manufacturers have worked hard in this area. Because of improvements in design and manufacturing processes over the years, tyres last way longer today. A good set of tyres – driven on correctly and rotated properly – should last up to 100,000 kilometres. This longevity means less rubber consumption per vehicle on the road. Manufacturers have also worked hard to innovate production processes to reduce or even eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in tyre manufacture.

A third environmental impact that drivers are concerned about is road noise. While it’s important to listen to what your tyre noise is telling you, it is also considered to be a nuisance, especially in built-up areas. A tyre with a low rolling resistance will produce less noise.

Could ‘sustainable’ tyres make an environmental difference?

Sustainable tyres use materials from different sources. Much of the material used to manufacture them is recycled, and the binding process has been tweaked accordingly. They should provide the same driving experience, but in a more environmentally friendly way.

The goal is greener tyres, greener materials, and greener manufacturing processes, without a reduction in safety, fuel consumption, and tyre life. Big manufacturers like Goodyear, Bridgestone, and Michelin are leaders in the field.

What you should consider before buying sustainable tyres

There’s no doubt in my mind that sustainable tyres are the future. But are they the present? Here are two things you should consider before replacing your current tyres with sustainable tyres.

Cost of tyres

Sustainable tyre manufacturer is still in its infancy, and this means that they are more expensive than their mass-manufactured counterparts.

Tyre safety

Infancy is also a factor when considering your safety. Existing tyres and manufacturing processes have decades of history behind them. The new sustainable tyres don’t have this benefit. Recycled materials may be great in colder climates, where they have been extensively tested, but can the same be said when driving on them in the middle of a baking hot Queensland summer?

Of course, manufacturers will overcome these concerns in time. Eventually, sustainable tyres will offer a safer and more comfortable drive.

Recycling of tyres is catching up with recycling of other waste

Here in Australia, we recycle almost 60% of our waste. Tyre disposal has lagged these efforts. This is changing.

The days of seeing huge tyre mountains and landfill sites stuffed with old tyres may be coming to an end. More tyres can be regrooved and retreaded today. And instead of a landfill, when tyres are past their useful life they are equally likely to be turned into ‘earth fill’, for the construction industry and infrastructure projects such as building dams.

Old tyres can even be recycled into oil and fuel, as Australian start-up GDT is proving.

One day, you may be driving on sustainable wheels, with your engine lubricated and powered by recycled rubber.

Darra Tyres – keeping you informed of your future on the road. To find out about our comprehensive tyre services, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.