Old cars get crushed and torn into steel scraps for reuse, car batteries are the most recycled consumer good, but old tires are still a recycling challenge.
Now, tire company Bridgestone Americas has launched a new program "designed to eventually assure" [sic] that for every tire the company sells in the U.S., one old tire will be removed from use and used in a valuable way.
It called that goal "lofty."
Bridgestone's announcement doesn't define exactly what constitutes a "valuable purpose"--it mostly talks about its outreach to retailing and environmental groups--but those would presumably include not only recycling, but also using old tires for things like artificial reefs and perhaps even homebuilding materials.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association says that today, about 85 percent of "spent tires" go to a valuable end use.
Bridgestone says that its 2,200 retail stores have already raised that number to 98 percent, and it committed to raising that to 100 percent by the end of this year.
The company's efforts include arrangements for its company-owned tire retailers, voluntary suggestions to "encourage" its affiliated retail outlets "to also strive" [sic] toward zero waste, and partnerships to collect spent tires in local neighborhoods.
Bridgestone says it plans to work with community organizations, river clean-up groups, local and national government entities, and academia. It said it will recycle tires gathered in community cleanup efforts for free; organizations that have gathered tires can request recycling online.
The company made the announcement in connection with last Friday's global Earth Day celebrations.