Schwalbe Sees Future In Bike Tire Recycling

A new recycling program aims to create new bicycle tires using old ones

After spending decades researching, German bike tire manufacturer Schwalbe said it has now had a big breakthrough in bicycle tire recycling. Working together with the Technical University of Cologne and recycling specialists Pyrum Innovations, Schwalbe says it now has a “holistic recycling process” to recycle used tires from all brands without waste.

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In Pyrum’s two stage process, tires are mechanically shredded and size reduced to liberate the rubber granules, textile fiber and steel. Next the rubber granules are fed into a pyrolysis oven and heated at 700°C without oxygen,  creating  a gas that is used to power the pyrolysis plant making it fully self-sufficient. The resulting pyrolysis coke is processed and refined to create recycled carbon black (rCB) for future tires. The remaining oil can be used to create textile fiber, Pyrum said.

“We don’t believe in ‘recycling not at any price’ ”, Schwalbe COO Holger Jahn said. “We are only satisfied with the result when the quality of the recycled materials meets the necessary level with which we can produce Schwalbe tires of the same quality again. That‘s why we are researching so intensively with the team from TH Köln and Sebastian Bogdahn, “ he said. Schwalbe quality and performance must be the same.

Recently, In its first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, Schwalbe parent company Ralf Bohle GmbH said it will introduce the first ever “mass-produced tire” made with rCB from waste tires by 2023.

The German group’s CSR report went on to say that Schwalbe intended to recycle 14 million tires and 15 million inner tubes by 2026, with a target of using 100 percent renewable energy at its headquarters in Reichshof as of 2025.

© Scrap Tire News, November 2022