Whether it’s making them, using them or disposing of them, tyres are an environmental issue. But manufacturers are rising to the challenge
“It all seems to be related to the reduced rolling resistance of the tyres,” Manenti says. “It’s all about technology: the choice of materials; the manufacture and design of tires from raceways to tread blocks. To give you an example, at Bridgestone, we’ve had a 23 percent reduction in tire rolling resistance since 2005.”
Again, this can be an effective circuit as increasing the polymer content in tires, which helps reduce rolling resistance, also displaces natural rubber from trees, which has implications for land and water use.
Complex and contradictory functions
But all tires are compromises, Manenti points out. It offers the world’s best, freest rolling tire, but “can it still hold its own in the wet and build side loads,” he asks?
“The tire seems like a relatively easy affair, isn’t it? Not only does it reduce rolling resistance, but at the same time the tire should keep passengers and machinery safe, reduce fuel consumption and reduce materials used in its production, And This is from cradle to grave.
“It’s a process that is basically full of contradictions and we don’t always communicate it well to the public.”
Tire companies are entitled to do so. The public sees tires as black and round and an embarrassing purchase and even the greats of the tire industry don’t do much but advertise like crazy in an unregulated market where discounts undermine the message – it’s been like that for as long as I’ve worked in the industry.
One aspect that might help change things is enforcing a low rolling resistance factor similar to replacement tyres. Not the same brand, you understand, but for similar environmental performance.
Manenti broadly agrees and says the industry has been talking to governments about such a system that could rely on eco-labelling, a system that has been widely successful in the white goods market for homes.
While the details need to be carefully worked out to minimize loopholes and potential for profit, they can work for everyone’s benefit.
“Think [it’s] A way to get a little closer to the home commitment on original equipment,” he says, before adding, “We should really raise people’s awareness. This is one of the biggest challenges in making sure that tire quality isn’t necessarily synonymous with a great brand or image, but there are also [also] Huge content in terms of safety and environment.”