How Michelin is finding a second life for tires

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The automotive industry has been recycling tires for nigh onto 100 years, originally motivated by the high cost of buying rubber. It’s a process not without controversy: Many castoffs ultimately are burned after the most valuable materials have been scrapped. On the other side, many argue that’s a better option than burying tires in landfills.

But the conversation detoured into new territory in late 2017. That’s when French tire giant Michelin acquired Lehigh Technologies, a 15-year-old company that reincarnates end-of-life tires into a specialty material called micronized rubber powder (MRP). The substance is already used by more than 60 companies (among them are seven of the world’s 10 biggest tire makers) for a wide range of applications, including as a feedstock for the sorts of high-performance tires Michelin sells. It is sold to more than 42 plants in 15 countries.

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