Goodyear Tires announced this month [January] that they are manufacturing a line of recyclable, sustainably made automotive tires. Back in January 2022 they released a line of tires made from 70% sustainable materials, now a year later they are pushing to increase to 90% sustainable materials. Society talks about the carbon impact that car emissions have on the environment, but not much attention is on the materials that go into the vehicle’s structural components, such as tires.
Traditional tires consist of synthetic rubber, natural rubber, wire, and many other chemical components – these components release a multitude of carbon, gasses and toxic chemicals during development and disposal, creating heavy pollution. Along with tires not being biodegradable, they can leave a lasting hazardous impact on the landfills or surrounding areas they are disposed upon.
The new sustainable composition of the tires are derived from many naturally occurring resources as well as recycled materials. They obtain polyester for the tire cords from recycled bottles, they use bio-renewable pine tree resin to improve traction, and a low-greenhouse-gas-emission electrical processed steel. Since 2018, Goodyear has produced other products using soybean oil and rice husk waste. Soybean oil makes the tires more pliable and adaptable to fluctuations in outdoor temperatures.
Goodyear was able to achieve a lower rolling resistance with the sustainable tires than traditional tires. Rolling resistance, or rolling friction is the effort your vehicle gives to keep it moving; this process occurs whenever the vehicle's tires make contact with a road surface. With a large transferral of energy, hysteresis is the energy loss as a tire rolls in any direction, that loss needs to be matched by the engine's energy, resulting in fuel waste. By having a lower rolling resistance there is less force from the tire to the road, resulting in less fuel being wasted.
Significant reduction in rolling resistance and fuel waste can be very valuable for commercial and electric vehicles. This process can also improve the fuel economy, or efficiency with a 10:1 ratio, saving the driver money with every mile driven. And with the nation’s recent increase in gas prices, what driver wouldn’t want to save money?
With a few more years to go on the 90% sustainable tire project, Goodyear has a goal of producing a 100% sustainable tire line by 2030.