Environment | Value natural resources
Recycling and reusing end-of-life tires Value natural resources

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Our approach

The Bridgestone Group is working to improve product circularity*1. It effectively utilizes or disposes of used tires*2 collected at shops/stores, complying with the laws and regulations of each country and region. Of the nearly 3,700 equity shops/stores globally, almost all of them except some countries and regions, stipulate beneficial next use in contracts with processing companies, and the ratio has reached 96%. The Group will continue to make beneficial next use of used tires.

The Group specifically promotes the following activities globally.

  • Effective beneficial use of used tires collected at shops/stores (material recycle, energy recovery)
  • Participation in regional and global initiatives
  • Collection of discarded tires to clean up the environment in collaboration with NGOs

End-of-life tires (ELTs) global recovery rates*4

End-of-life passenger tires*3 and truck and bus radial tires (TBRs) are beneficially recycled and recovered. Beneficial uses include construction materials, landscaping mulch, floor mats and crafts.

  1. A concept to show circularity of used products. Bridgestone Group uses the ratio of used tires from its shops that going to beneficial next use as the indicator for product circularity
  2. The Bridgestone Group defines used tire as tire removed from vehicle after-use
  3. The Bridgestone Group defines end-of-life tire as used tire that cannot be used for driving itself or retreaded
  4. Industry-wide data based on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development https://docs.wbcsd.org/2018/02/ELT_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Cooperation with global associations

WBCSD’s TIP framework

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Tire Industry Project (TIP), the world is projected to generate approximately one billion end-of-life tires each year. The Group recognizes that reducing the environmental impact of end-of-life tires is an important common issue within the tire industry.

The Bridgestone Group has been involved in WBCSD TIP since its launching in 2006. As one of the world’s leading tire and rubber companies, the Group is working together with other companies in the industry to create a sustainable world. TIP aims to develop an effective management system for end-of-life tires by encouraging related industries and governments to properly process and reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life tires. It published a manual and best practices based on a global survey that includes 45 countries covering 84% of the world’s vehicles.

Working with JATMA (Japan)

Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association (JATMA) and many others in the tire industry are working to reduce and recycle used tires and create a circular economy. Specific measures focus on monitoring the state of tire recycling and preventing illegal collection and dumping of used tires. According to a JATMA survey, the recycling rate of used tires in Japan was 97% in 2020. Together with JATMA, Bridgestone is committed to continuing to improve this rate and reduce the environmental impact of used tires in Japan.

Collaboration with the USTMA (Americas)

As a core member of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), Bridgestone Americas is working with USTMA towards a shared vision for the U.S. tire manufacturing industry that can achieve safe and sustainable mobility for the future.

That quest involves promoting environmentally and economically sound options for repurposing tires once their on-vehicle use is over in various ways, from construction material to fuel, thereby maximizing the value of used tires and alleviating the environmental impact of tires through responsible end-of-life management.

Since its launch in 1990, the USTMA has worked together with the states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the industry to reduce scrap tire stockpiles and implement regulations that foster sustainable used tire markets. The association also offers technical information on end-of-life tire management and hosts used tire conferences for regulators, recyclers, industry and other stakeholders.

USTMA members operate manufacturing facilities in 17 states, employ nearly 100,000 workers and generate annual sales of more than 27 billion USD.

USTMA | End-of-Life Tire Management

Collaboration with ETRMA (Europe)

Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (BSEMIA) as a core member of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturing Association (ETRMA) is working together with ETRMA and its members to support the newly issued “Roadmap New Circular Economy Action Plan” by European Government. European Tire Industry believe in a future inclusive economy based on an efficient use of resources, ensuring full recovery of waste-stream at highest possible value with minimal material functionality loss, and no uncontrolled emission, driven by an innovative and sustainable market economy.

To maximize the contribution to circular economy, ETRMA and the tire industry is directly involved in managing end-of-life tires (ELT) in European Countries having Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system.

EPR means the producer’s full or partial operational and/or financial responsibility for a product extended to the post-consumer state of a product’s life cycle. In other words, under this system, the original manufacturer has a duty of care to ensure that the waste from the products it has created is disposed of responsibly, in an environmentally-sound manner. This has led to the setting-up of not-for-profit companies financed by tire producers aiming to manage the collection and recovery of ELTs through the most economical solutions. A reporting obligation towards the national regulatory authorities provides a good example of clear and reliable traceability.

Wider collaboration

Co-creating shoes from recycled tires with Soles4Souls Asia (Indonesia)

In 2020, P.T. Bridgestone Tire Indonesia (Bridgestone Indonesia) entered into a two-year partnership with Soles4Souls Asia, a global nonprofit organization, on a project to create new shoes out of recycled tires.

Working with partner shoe brands to manufacture shoes in their factories, the goal is to turn 40,000 tires into about 400,000 pairs of shoes by the end of 2022, diverting end-of-life tires from landfills and putting them to good use. These shoes will be distributed to people in need around the world and/or sold through various outlets with a portion set for donations.

The partnership will give these Bridgestone tires a new lease of life as soles for shoes, helping drive toward a circular economy that eliminates waste through the continual use of resources. Additionally, Bridgestone Indonesia has pledged 60,000 USD to assist Soles4Souls Asia in their global relief efforts to expand the project.

For more information, see news release.

Tires4ward (Americas)

In the U.S., Bridgestone Americas is committed to the reuse of end-of-life tires removed from vehicles at company-owned retail tire stores. In addition, through the Tires4ward program, Bridgestone Americas offers free end-of-life tire collection and recycling during community-organized cleanup events at rivers, lakes and other public waterways. Its goal is that all the used tires returned to company-owned retail stores get a beneficial next use.

Collecting discarded tires

Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) has been running its Tires4ward program since 2012. The program also sponsors the free collection and recycling of tires discarded in parks and rivers through a partnership with the River Network volunteer organization. To date, BSRO has sponsored over 815 regional cleanup initiatives across the U.S. and collected over 223,000 discarded tires. It will continue supporting the River Network and its initiative, the River Rally. The company is also currently expanding its community-based initiatives from the U.S. to Latin America and are considering extending to other regions in the future.

Tires4ward Tire Recycling Program

Llantaton: Tire collection (Americas)

This program aims to recover and recycle used tires to minimize their environmental impact and to raise community awareness on how to prevent the spread of the dengue, Zika and chikungunya virus from mosquito breeding sites. The main strength of the project is that it was established through alliances between private companies, government organizations, non-profit organizations and communities to achieve a common goal. The program promotes proper and legal disposal of used tires. Since 2017, the program has collected over 313 tonnes of tires in Mexico and Costa Rica. The collected tires are co-processed and used as alternative fuel in cement kilns or as earth retaining material made of blocks of tires popularly called "llantiones" for slope management and ground improvement in civil engineering works.

Industrial Transformation Research Program (Australia)

Through a joint research project with the Industrial Transformation Research Program in Australia, Bridgestone Australia is studying the use of used tires for various rail track components, including ballast and subgrade, to improve the durability of ballasted rail tracks.

Local initiatives

Used tire recycling facility (Japan)

Bridgestone Tire Solution Japan (BTSJ) operates the Bridgestone Tire Recycle Center Osaka. The center combines the ability to manufacture retreaded tires and repurpose end-of-life tires in a single location. The center also facilitates the collection, reuse and repurposing of tires from Osaka Prefecture and parts of Kyoto, Hyogo, Shiga and Wakayama Prefectures. The Bridgestone Group is maintaining its commitment to achieving sustainable end-of-life tires management.

Giant Rubber Water Tanks (Americas)

Bridgestone Americas’ Aiken Off Road Radial Plant has been recycling end-of-life off-road radial tires by converting them into giant watering troughs called Giant Rubber Water Tanks for cattle and other livestock. Approximately 100 tires were repurposed in 2020.

B-Happy Eco-Parks program (Costa Rica)

Bridgestone Costa Rica’s B-Happy Eco-Parks program uses end-of-life tires to create playgrounds in parks and education centers. So far, over 39 playgrounds have been created in Central America and the Caribbean since 2012.

Relevant information

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