Dick Gust, CEO of the Tire Industry Association and a former executive at Liberty Tire Recycling, knows that true recycling starts when a tire is produced, not when it's taken out of service. And that progress is measured by sending fewer end-of-life tires to be used as tire-derived fuel, and more for rubber-modified asphalt, where the product can later be recycled and used again in another road, making it a truly sustainable product.
But Jason Stravinski, CEO of Michelin-owned Lehigh Technologies, said making a truly sustainable tire will take more than just one breakthrough. More like a dozen. When looking at the circularity perspective, more headway must come in such areas as micronized rubber powders, recovered carbon black, pyrolysis and total devulcanization, which he terms the "holy grail."
More importantly, it's vital that all the solutions needed to create a truly sustainable tire don't negatively impact price and performance. Because it you can't achieve that, as Stravinski likes to say, all you've done is create a fancy tire.