Continental will Use recycled PET bottles for tyre production from 2022

Written by Nizam Shaikh

Technology company Continental has revealed that the brand will be using PET bottles for tyre production. On average, 400 gm of polyester material is used to make a single tyre. Continental and OTIZ (Oriental Industries), a fibre specialist and textile manufacturer, have developed a unique technology. This new technology will enable the brand to upcycle PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles to make the body of tyres.

Recycling PET Bottles Into Tyres

The tyre production process uses 400 gm of polyester yarn to construct the carcass of the tyre. The brand can obtain this polyester yarn from PET bottles by recycling them and completely replacing conventional polyester. In addition to this, the brand has also developed a process through which the company will not require the previously necessary intermediate chemical steps. Continental will obtain the new sustainable polyester yarn by using a mechanical process specially developed by Continental and its cooperation partner and supplier OTIZ. A single tyre will be able to recycle 60 PET bottles using this new process.

Sustainable Upcycling

The process begins with sorting the PET bottles and removing the caps. The bottles then go through a thorough cleaning process using a mechanical method. The PET bottles then go through a mechanical shredder and are then melted down and granulated. The PET granules then go through a solid-state polymerisation process and a modified spinning process. The brand’s proprietary manufacturing process enables them to obtain the polyester yarn without any polymerisation process for monomers.

Material Performance

Continental has performed both lab tests and tyres tests on the material obtained using the new sustainable process. The secondary raw material fibres have performed equally well compared to the conventional polyester fibres. The fibres have the same quality as the virgin PET and are also stable under high loads. Therefore, the material is ideal for tyres thanks to its toughness, breaking strength, and thermal stability. Conventional PET has been in use in the tyre industry for a long time as it can retain its shape under heavy loads and high temperatures.

100% Sustainable Materials by 2050

The brand also aims to use 100% sustainably produced materials in its tyres by 2050. Continental realises that recycling has become an important factor in the premium tyre industry. Thus, the company is taking steps to use recycled materials taking a further step towards a circular economy.

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