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Retreading: When Round Tires Become Circular

Mobility is the basis of economic and human development. Michelin is striving to contribute to this development by implementing a sustainable growth strategy as demonstrated by the Group's circular economy drive which includes its retreading business.

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Optimizing the use of resources to enhance our customers' mobility in a sustainable manner

The boom in the demand for road mobility (expected to double and maybe even quadruple by 2050 compared to 2010) raises undeniable environmental and human issues: congestion, pollution, natural resource preservation, etc. At Michelin, we are convinced that we should not go against the development of mobility but instead mitigate its social and environmental impacts. It is for this reason that we are developing techniques such as retreading in order to market products which, from their design until the end of their life cycle, use fewer resources while delivering better performance.

What does retreading involve?

Retreading involves giving a lease of new life to a worn tire in order to minimize the use of raw materials without compromising safety. Once truck and aircraft tires come to the end of their life cycle, their casing structure is retained and their tread – the part of the tire in contact with the ground – is replaced. A truck tire designed for retreading can be retreaded twice which means it can be used to cover 660,000 kilometers whereas its initial lifespan would only cover 220,000 km according to an independent report drawn up by EY!

Retreading: three times the benefits

The environmental benefits of retreading are substantial. Compared to an entry-level tire that cannot be retread, for example, a retreaded tire makes it possible to save 24% CO2 emissions and 70% natural resource extraction due to the fact that the steel casing is reused! A retreaded tire also means less waste to recycle.

From a socio-economic perspective, the retreading industry supports 32,000 jobs in Europe, including 4,000 in France. At equivalent use, a retreaded tire generates 4.3 times more jobs than a tire that cannot be retreaded, since in addition to the actual retreading operations, associated maintenance and logistics services are also provided (collection, inspection, maintenance, distribution).

Lastly, a tire which lasts two and sometimes even three times longer and costs 40% less per kilometer than a new tire enables customers to make significant savings.

 

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*The casing of entry-level tires is not robust enough to be retreaded
**Source : Rapport by EY – October 2016 – The socio-economic impact of retreading truck tires in France and Europe

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Circular economy