Tires keep it rolling

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Updated Sep 23, 2019

Talk tires with Quest CEO Ray Hatch and he gets pretty excited. After all, Quest pioneered a solution to repurpose 19 million tires for a national retailer, using the tires to resurface its parking lots. But the list of products coming from used tires goes a lot longer than that.

“Tires is a big one for your group,” Hatch said. “Rubber is extracted and used in anything from floor mats to railroad ties, acoustic underlay—there are many things. But typically tires is a big one.”

As with other recyclables fleets produce, Quest helps to streamline the process of getting used tires out of a shop and into a productive recycling stream.

“We set up a service interval so for example tires would be in a cage and we show them how to lace the tires and they’re picked up once a month, every six week, every week—depending on the volume so that they never have excess capacity,” Vanessa Lepice, Quest’s vice-president of marketing and new business development explained. “Should they need additional service, we have 24/7 support where they just call or email and then the account management team schedules service and then it’s picked up the day after.”

Seeing the value in expanding its green footprint, Michelin announced in June at its Movin’ On Summit that the composition of its tires will jump from 28 to 80 percent sustainable materials by 2048. It also has an ambitious goal of expanding tire recycling from 50 to 100 percent within that same timeframe.

Michelin does not currently have a tire recycling program for fleets, but that could change.

“Michelin is also developing partnerships to identify new ways to recycle tires, or new outlets for recycled tires,” Michelin spokesperson Mary Ann Kotlarich said.

Tire retreads are another path of recycling. Not only do the tires cost less, they also require significantly less oil to make: 7 versus 22 gallons required for a new tire.