A few months ago, we covered a story about Schwalbe Tires rescuing 20,000+ bicycle tires from an old cellar beneath a European bike shop. In that story, we touched on Schwalbe’s unique Recycling Program. Well, a few weeks ago Schwalbe announced that the “circle is closed” as a primary goal has been achieved when they received a supply of recycled carbon black (rCB) from Pyrum Innovations.
The supply of the rCB that Schwalbe received is a big deal as it allows the tire manufacturer to be the world’s first (and so far only) company to not only take back used bicycle tires but to use them to produce new tires strictly using the rCB, and zero industrial carbon black.
Industrial carbon black is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of coal and coal tar. The most common use (70%) of this by-product is as a pigment and reinforcing phase in tire manufacturing.
The rCB that Schwalbe collects is from a group of specialist dealers throughout Germany utilizing the Schwalbe Recycling System. We are told that the new “rCB tire” will debut sometime in June, and then be available for sale through their dealers after that.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to see how this new tire performs.
The Schwalbe Recycling System was awarded the “Innovators Prize” at the 2022 Eurobike that takes place in June. At that point, the recycling project had around 50 participating specialist retailers in the pilot phase. Today, that number exceeds 1,600 that are taking part across Germany. By December ’22 400,000 tires had already been recycled in this way.
How the Schwalbe Recycling System works:
- Drop off used tires at participating dealers. Use this link.
- The full recycling boxes get delivered to their recycling partner, Pyrum Innovations.
- The shredding of the used tires into:
– Rubber granulate
- Pyrum Thermolysis happens: rubber granulate is converted into secondary raw materials (pyrolysis oven at 700 degrees celsius under oxygen exclusion). This produces:
– Process gas: Supplies the entire plant with electricity
– Pyrolysis oil: Substitute for crude oil in the chemical industry
– Pyrolysekoks (rCB): Resource for tire production
- Recycle into new Schwalbe products.