HANOVER, Germany — Continental A.G. has launched volume production of passenger tires using polyester yarn in the carcass derived from waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
The new "ContiRe.Tex" technology uses recycled polyester yarn obtained from post-consumer PET plastic bottles and "completely replaces the conventional polyester in a tire carcass," Conti said.
A set of standard tires, for instance, features around 40 recycled PET bottles, Conti said.
The high-performance material is first being used in selected sizes for Continental's PremiumContact 6 and EcoContact 6 summer tires.
Continental said it unveiled the ContiRe.Tex technology in August last year and brought the technology to production stage within eight months.
The process uses polyester yarn, which is obtained from used PET bottles "without any intermediate chemical steps and not recycled in any other way."
The PET recycling technology was developed jointly with Oriental Industries (Suzhou) Ltd. (OTIZ), a Chinese fibers producers, Conti said, noting that the mechanical process eliminates the need for intermediate chemical depolymerization steps and can provide raw materials that match the quality of virgin PET.
As part of a special recycling process, the bottles are sorted and mechanically cleaned, after the caps are removed. After mechanical shredding, the PET is further processed into granulate and finally spun polyester yarn.
"We only use high-performance materials in our premium tires.
"From now on, these will include polyester yarn from PET bottles, made in a particularly efficient recycling process," Ferdinand Hoyos, head of Conti's European tire replacement business, said.
All tires with ContiRe.Tex technology are being produced at Continental's plant in Lousado, Portugal, and come with a special logo on the sidewall. The tires with the new technology are intended for now for distribution in Europe.