Bridgestone [5108:JP], the world’s largest tire maker, plans to finish developing new technology for recycling tires by 2030 to reduce the carbon footprint in the vehicle supply chain, as reported by Nikkei Asia on October 15. The Japanese company will extract rubber materials, namely isoprene and butadiene, from scrapped tires using a chemical process that breaks tire materials down to the molecular level for reuse. Bridgestone expects the technology to recycle about 100,000 tons of tires a year, or around 10% of those annually disposed of in Japan. The firm will spend about JPY20bn (USD134m) through 2030 on developing the technology, with the participation of Japanese oil enterprise Eneos Holdings [5020:JP].
Bridgestone plans to sell tires with longer service life and higher added value at higher prices to cover its spending on developing recycling technologies. A typical tire approximately emits 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide throughout its life cycle, as most of the scrapped tires end up being incinerated. In 2021, Japan scrapped 91m tires through tire changes and vehicle disposal, creating a vast need for rubber recycling. In August 2022, the Japanese government released a draft roadmap to boost the country’s circular economy to over JPY80tr (USD535bn) by 2030 from the current JPY50tr (USD335bn). According to the draft, by 2030 the government will ramp up plastics collections, diminish food waste, promote the recycling of rare and other metals, and shift from materials derived from fossil fuels to biomass materials.