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Can you make tires from dandelions and rice? Continental says HELL YEAH

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Out of the many promising initiatives that got unveiled at the 2021 IAA Mobility Show in Munich, Continental‘s Green Concept is definitely one worth looking into.

The German company announced that it’s working on a tire made from renewable, recycled, and traceable materials, designed to have extended service life and increased sustainability over its entire value chain. 

What it’s made of

For starters, the Conti GreenConcept consists of 35% renewable bio-materials. These include natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from the ash of rice husks, and vegetable oils and resins. This reduces the need for crude oil, traditionally found in tires.

It’s also composed from 17% recycled materials, namely reclaimed steel, recovered carbon black, and polyester yarn. Notably, the polyester comes from recycled plastic PTE (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, which according to Continental is an industry first.

The technology is called ContiRe.Tex and entails a recycling process that “does without the usual intermediate chemical processing steps, and the resulting polyester yarn is then made functionally capable of handling the high mechanical forces to which tires are subjected.”

Based on the company’s estimation, each of the tires of a conventional passenger vehicle includes roughly 400 grams of polyester yarn. This means that for a set of four tires a total of over 60 recycled PET bottles can be reused instead of being discarded. 

Credit: Continental