Bridgestone Pledges One-For-One Old Tire Reuse Or Recycling

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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.


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Comments (3)
  1. You know, it sounds like a PR move to do something that was already going to be required by a government regulation. Recycling 100% is fairly easy when you control what happens to the old tire that comes off a car. However, what about the people who are just buying a set of snow tires? They sell 4 new ones, but don't get any old ones in trade. Do they go to a dump and find 4 old tires to recycle? What about tires sold to outside vendors like Tire Rack? How does Bridgestone "assure" that an equal number of tires are recycled? They don't.

    It sounds like a nice "goal" that they can miss and no one will notice. There's no audit trail, right? Lots of glowing "we love the Earth" pronouncements without much substance.

  2. Frankly I give them credit. Getting rid of old tires is quite a pain. Now you should be able to just drop them off at a Brigestone dealer.

  3. Here is what Massachusetts has to say about "used in a valuable way".

    "...but typically used tires are burned for fuel under environmentally controlled conditions in solid waste incinerators"

    I would not have guessed that was possible. But I guess if it can power my home, it is valuable. Wonder how many EVs could be powered.

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