An independent analysis comparing the relative carbon footprints of new tires and retreaded tires has concluded that the process required to manufacture and distribute a retreaded tire produces significantly less carbon emissions than that required to produce a new tire.

The report, commissioned for the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse and carried out by carbon footprint specialists Best Foot Forward, compares the carbon footprint of a new and a retread 17.5-inch tire for use by light commercial vehicles.

This study showed that the manufacture of a 17.5-inch new tire produces 86.9 kg CO2 emissions compared to 60.5 kg CO2 for an equivalent retread tire, a saving of 26.4 kg. This equates to a reduction of emissions by 30 percent.

The report breaks down the carbon footprint of the tire comparing the impacts arising from different product stages. It showed that the embodied carbon of materials is the largest component for both new tires and retreads accounting for more than 50 percent of the total impact. It is responsible for 49 kg of CO2 in new tires compared to 31 kg CO2 in retreads.

The second largest impact is attributed to the energy needed in the manufacturing and retreading process. The energy used to manufacture a new tire produces 31 kg CO2, while retread energy is 22 kg CO2.

The footprint of transport is roughly the same for both tire types. In total transport emissions add almost 10 kg CO2 for a new tire and over 8 kg CO2 for a retread. The higher emissions for transport of new tires come from the long distance import of raw materials from overseas.

Overall, the study found that retreading tires is more environmentally beneficial than buying new, with the retreading of light commercial vehicle tires reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 26.4 kg and giving material savings of 17.6 kg.

"It is very gratifying to see that an independent report has validated the retreading industry's environmental credentials. We have always emphasised the environmentally friendly characteristics of retreaded tires and can now prove that retreads compare very favorably in terms of environmental impact when compared to new tires," said David Wilson, director of the Retread Manufacturers Association, which represents the British retreading industry.

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