Photo courtesy of Dmitri Izosimov - Dreamstime

Bridgestone to expand tire recycling technology

The company is partnering with carbon capture company LanzaTech to develop a scaled solution for recycling end-of-life tires.

Bridgestone Americas, a tire manufacturer based in Nashville, Tennessee, announced an exclusive partnership with carbon capture and transformation (CCT) company, LanzaTech NZ Inc., Skokie, Illinois, to address end-of-life tire waste. The companies say they plan to co-develop the first dedicated end-of-life tire recycling process through LanzaTech's proprietary CCT technology. 

According to the Tire Industry Project, more than 1 billion tires globally reach the end of their useful service life each year. Bridgestone and LanzaTech will work to address this by turning end-of-life tires into new materials, including sustainable synthetic rubber that does not rely on petrochemicals.   

"We are excited to join forces with LanzaTech to co-create a more sustainable pathway for end-of-life tires," says Paolo Ferrari, president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas. "The steps we take today are determining the health of our planet for future generations. We are determined to meet the moment with sustainable innovation that transforms the way tires are made and promotes end-to-end material circularity."  

Bridgestone and LanzaTech say they plan to develop a new business model that will create a postconsumer waste management strategy for end-of-life tires, while also driving increased adoption of sustainably sourced chemicals for commercial applications. Applying LanzaTech's carbon capture and gas fermentation process to end-of-life tires yields sustainably produced chemicals such as ethanol that can be converted to materials such as polyethylene terephthalate for packaging, polyester yarn and surfactants used in consumer home goods like laundry detergent.   

In addition, Bridgestone and LanzaTech will explore opportunities to co-develop proprietary microbe technology to produce more efficient pathways to produce butadiene, a key ingredient in new tire production.  

"LanzaTech and Bridgestone are working together to find solutions to some of our world's greatest challenges," says Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. "We have already proven that we can convert unrecyclable, unsorted municipal solid waste to ethanol and then make products we use in our daily lives. With our partnership with Bridgestone, we are developing a circular pathway to use tires to make tires. This partnership exemplifies what we call a post pollution future."  

Bridgestone says it aims to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100 percent renewable materials by 2050. The company is researching various solutions to support the recycling of materials from end-of-life tires and promote the replacement of nonrenewable materials such as oil, silica and virgin carbon black in new tires.