MONTREAL—Michelin unveiled a plan to have 80 percent sustainable content in its new tires by 2048, company officials announced at the Movin'On advanced mobility conference in Montreal.
The French tire giant also will strive to have 100 percent of tires recycled by that year, said Cyrille Roget, Michelin technical and innovation communications director.
Roget made the announcement at the Montreal conference along with Nicolas Beaumont, Michelin senior vice president of sustainable development and mobility.
The tire industry already starts from a high recycling rate, according to Roget.
"Today, 70 percent of all tires are recycled," he said. "By comparison, only 40 percent of plastics are recycled."
Half of recycled tires go to high-value-added products such as rubberized asphalt and shoe soles, Roget said. Michelin tires, according to the company, currently contain 28 percent sustainable material, including 26 percent bio-sourced and 2 percent recycled materials.
But reaching a 100 percent recycling rate and 80 percent recycled content for tires is crucial to Michelin's long-range sustainability plans, he said.
"There are two ambitions here—to change what tires become, and to change what they are made of," he said.
"The savings would be huge," Roget said. "If we achieve these ambitions, we would save 33 million barrels of oil each year. That is equivalent to the entire annual oil consumption of France."
Michelin has many collaborators in its program to achieve its 80 percent goal and overall sustainability plan, and hopes to find more, according to Roget.
"We seek the involvement not only of tire manufacturers, but of tire recyclers," he said. "This is not something we can do alone."
Michelin began its Biobutterfly program to find sustainable materials in 2012, according to the company.
It is working with the biomaterial research companies Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers with biomass such as wood, straw or beet, the tire maker said.