GREENVILLE, S.C. — There's a space between manufacturing sustainable tires and recycling sustainable tires.
That space is reusing them, specifically, retreading them.
Sometimes the industry forgets that, according to David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau, speaking recently at the Clemson University Global Industry Tire Conference in Greenville.
Tire makers, he said, sometimes forget to design tires that can be retreaded, and they forget to promote the sustainability aspects of retreading their tires.
"Some companies are doing it," Stevens said, "but there are other companies that talk about sustainability — and it is a key component of what they do — and they talk about all the acquisition of sustainable materials, so it is all about what goes into the tire itself. But then they skip over retreading, and they go right to recycling."
Stevens contends that retreads are one of the most reliable sustainability methods the tire industry has, and it has proved that again and again.
"Here is the crux of it: Retreading is all about sustainability and it always has been," Stevens said. "I mean, it is just starting to come to the fore for the tire industry itself and for end-users of these products."
Here's a look at three ways the retreading industry is showing its potential.