By now, the recycling of used plastic bottles has become practically common. And, from now on, it will also affect the automotive world: in fact, Continental is the first company to start the production of tires manufactured with polyester yarn obtained from PET plastic bottles (acronym for polyethylene terephthalate, also called polyethylene terephthalate : this is a thermoplastic resin suitable for food contact) recycled.
This new material, which retires the conventional polyester used in the construction of the tire carcass, will initially be used in selected sizes – some of the most popular on the market – for the PremiumContact 6 and EcoContact 6 summer tires and for the AllSeasonContact tire. Yeah, but how many bottles do you need to make the polyester from PET needed to make four rubbers? “A set of standard tires contains polyester made from around 40 recycled PET bottles,” they reply from Continental.
This technology is called ContiRe.Tex and the polyester it gives life to is obtained without any intermediate chemical step, from old PET bottles that come exclusively from regions without a closed-loop recycling system. After mechanical shredding, PET is further transformed into granulated polyester and finally spun. ContiRe.Tex tires now on the market are produced at the Continental plant in Lousado, Portugal and have a special logo on the sidewall (“Contains Recycled Material”).
“We brought our innovative ContiRe.Tex technology to the production stage in just eight months. I am proud of the whole team for this extraordinary result, “said Ferdinand Hoyos, Continental’s business replacement manager in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), in an official statement:” We are constantly expanding the share of renewable and recycled materials in our tires. By 2050 at the latest, we aim to use only sustainable materials in our production ”.