Maxxis is starting small, but it’s pulling a bit more plastic from the seas with their upcoming Green Recycle tire casings made from recycled fishing nets. The environmental benefit is (theoretically) doubled considering it’s not producing new plastic to make its nylon casings too.
The new casings will come on base-level commuter and city tires first as Maxxis increases testing to make sure they’ll meet expectations for higher-performance mountain bike tires, but the plan is to use them across most of its portfolio.
The process starts by pulling lost and discarded fishing nets from the ocean. About 12.7 million tons of marine debris is formed annually, and about 640,000 tons of that comes from fishing gear. Called “ghost fishing gear,” it can damage reefs, kill sea life, and generally pollute.
The plastic nets are collected and cleaned, then turned into fresh nylon plastic pellets. Seawastex says its process, performed with Formosa Chemical & Fibre Corporation, creates a product with the same tensile strength, impact resistance, and weather resistance as virgin material. They provide recycling collection methods to help prevent the waste from getting left in the ocean in the first place too.
Those are melted and extruded into yarn, which is then woven into the casings. Effectively, it should work just like virgin nylon, but Maxxis is doing long-term testing to ensure the performance characteristics are the same.
From there, the casing is laid up with other materials to form the tire’s carcass before being heat-molded into shape, forming the tread patterns, and bonding everything together to create a rideable tire.