GREENVILLE, S.C. — Michelin North America Inc.'s drive to increase the "sustainable material" content of its tires includes its retread business, where over the past decade it's been incorporating recycled powdered rubber into the tread rubber used by its licensed retreaders.
During that time, Michelin has worked with Lehigh Technologies L.L.C., the Tucker, Ga.-based producer of what it calls "Micronized Rubber Powders" (MRP), which Michelin acquired last October as part of its drive toward more sustainability.
Lehigh now is a part of Michelin's High Technology Materials business unit, which supports the company's sustainable mobility vision and its ambition to recycle 100 percent of its tires by 2048.
Lehigh's proprietary croyogenic-based technology converts rubber materials into a high technology powder that can be incorporated in new retread compounds offering higher levels of performance, Michelin said.
Michelin did not comment specifically on the recycled content of tread rubber it produces, but said at the recent Movin'On sustainability conference in Montreal that on average its tires contain 28 percent sustainable materials — 26 percent bio-sourced materials like natural rubber, sunflower oil, limonene etc., and 2 percent recycled materials such as steel or recycled powdered tires.