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Michelin will transform yogurt cups and PET bottles into tires


The Michelin Man gathers recyclables in Germany.

AT THE 2021 IAA Mobility Event in Munich, Germany, global tire maker Michelin highlighted its plans to make sustainable tires. Six Michelin teams of German Michelin employees roamed through downtown Munich during the event, encouraging people to recycle plastic waste.

They were joined by the familiar Michelin Man to raise awareness “that today’s discarded container will become a valuable resource for tomorrow’s tires.”

Michelin is looking to roll out tires made from recycled yogurt cups and PET bottles as early as 2024, “with the potential for around four billion PET bottles to be recycled every year as raw material for tires,” the Clermont-Ferrand, France-headquartered brand said in a release. The aforementioned teams at the IAA hoped to collect enough plastic for the first 100 tires.

Shared Michelin Europe North CEO Anish K. Taneja, “In one tire, we can process up to 143 yogurt cups and around 12.5 PET bottles with the high-tech recycling processes. We want to address society’s plastic problem and offer solutions.”

At the Michelin booth in Munich’s Königsplatz, visitors found out about the rest of the recycling journey through the Michelin REGEN’Lab, which explained the recycling processes and demonstrated how raw materials for new tires are obtained from wood, PET plastic or packaging waste.

Michelin is aiming to manufacture its premium tires using 40% sustainable materials by 2030 – up to 100% by 2050. These materials may be natural rubber or sunflower oil.

In Munich, the brand also exhibited its vision of the future for recycled tires through its Michelin Vision Concept. This is made of 100% recyclable sustainable material, 3D-printed and puncture-resistant. An electric vehicle running on prototype Michelin Uptis tires (set for production in 2024) also made an appearance at the IAA.