Michelin Starts Construction of its World’s First Tire Recycling Plant

Top Tire Manufacturers Release Sustainability Roadmap

In a recent announcement, Michelin said that it will begin the construction of its first tire recycling plant this year. This will be done in collaboration with the Swedish company Enviro. Enviro has a patented technology that can be used to recover gas, steel, oil, and carbon black from tires that have reached their end of life.

The plant will be based in Antofagasta in Chile. It will be able to recycle up to 30,000 tons of earthmover tires every year. This represents about 60% of such tires which are scrapped annually nationwide. The process will start in 2021 while production is scheduled to begin in 2023. Over $30 million has already been put aside to build Michelin’s end-of-life tire processing plant.

Recovering Everything For Reuse

The new recycling plant will play a major role in the circular economy thanks to its innovative recycling processes. Scrap Michelin tires will be picked directly from a customer’s premises and transported to the plant. While there, they will be cut up into pieces and recycled.

Enviro uses a technology that produces reusable materials like pyrolysis oil, steel, gas, and carbon black. These materials are new and of high-quality making them ideal for reuse. About 90% of recovered material will be reused in rubber-based products like conveyor belts, anti-vibration products, and tires. The remaining 10% will be used by the plant to generate its own power and heat.

At the moment, plans are underway to make the recycling solution comprehensive. Michelin will collect end-of-life tires and reuse the recovered raw materials to produce new products. During the launch, Michelin Group was very proud to announce the joint venture with Enviro and the commencement of the construction of the new recycling plant.

According to Sander Vermeulen, the Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Strategy and New Business for the High-Tech Materials business line; not only will this generate new business for the tire manufacturer but also provide customers with a new-generation recycling solution. Michelin is currently in talks with mining customers from Chile who will get to sign long-term contracts once in agreement. By scaling the technology from Enviro, the group is offering a solution that will help develop a circular economy and support their environmental objectives.

Plans to Expand Efforts in Sustainable Materials

As showcased in the VISION concept, Michelin’s move to construct a tire recycling plant is aligned with its commitment to incorporate a larger amount of sustainable material in its tires. The group is aware of the nature and speed of innovation that exists in this new form of corporation. As such, it has made efforts to develop innovative partnerships across several technological disciplines.

In addition to this partnership with Enviro, the tire manufacturer has acted as a unifying force with other initiatives that have included trailblazers setting the pace in areas concerned with recycling and sustainable materials. The end goal remains to create and develop recycling systems for plastic waste and end-of-life tires.