Recycled Tires: Where Bottles Feared to Tread

A line of tiresA Japanese company has come up with yet another use for old plastic bottles. Earlier this month, Teijin Fibers Ltd. announced that they are now supplying recycled polyester fibers to Toyo Tire & Rubber for use as cords in a new line of automobile tire marketed for use on environmentally conscious passenger cars.

Tire cords are embedded in what is called the carcass of the tire — in the area underneath the tread. The cords provide an enhanced framework to strengthen the tire and thus must be both strong and elastic and yet must also withstand constant friction and stress.

In the past, recycled products were simply not capable of meeting the necessary materials standards for use in the industry, but Teijin’s new, closed-loop, 100% Eco Circle recycling system can apparently remove more additives and colorants, purifying recycled bottles and other polyester products to a greater extent than previous techniques. The company claims that this newly recycled material is equivalent to virgin fiber freshly manufactured. As such, the production of polyester fibers reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by about 80% compared to production by petroleum.

Photo Credit: vagawi at flickr via a Creative Commons License