Soybean oil, rice husks and pine resin. Add in some reindeer liver and a serving stone, and it sounds like the foundation of an amuse-bouche that Noma might serve in its last year in business (the world’s greatest restaurant is closing, if you haven’t heard).
But it’s a tire. Yes, a tire.
says it has developed a tire constructed 90% from sustainable materials. The new tire “has passed all applicable regulatory testing as well as Goodyear’s internal testing.”
An underappreciated problem
When you think of pollution caused by cars, you probably think of tailpipe emissions. Greenhouse gases remain a serious source of pollution — the EPA now estimates that transportation causes more air pollution than any other sector of the U.S. economy. But cars pose other risks to human and environmental health.
Modern tires contain steel, textiles, petroleum and synthetic polymers. And they wear away with use — dusting roadways with those materials. Those materials then wash into streams and rivers and end up in the oceans.
Plus: Cheery climate news? Cancer-linked ozone hole blamed on hairspray and A/C continues to close.
A 2020 study published in the journal Nature found that, globally, cars send 6.1 million metric tons of tire particles into our atmosphere and waterways. Tire particles are some of the most common microplastics found in the oceans.
Tires that break down into harmless, biodegradable materials promise to cut microplastics dramatically.
Goodyear won’t reveal the full content of the tire — no need to let competitors know too much. But the company says it uses soybean oil to replace petroleum to keep tires pliable in changing temperatures, rice husks to replace silica that aids in grip, and pine-tree resin in place of petroleum resin.
The company hasn’t released the performance-testing results but says the tire showed lower rolling resistance than traditional tires, which could improve fuel economy.
Also see: Adding protein to diets via fermentation is one solution to egg shortages and climate change
70% sustainable tire on sale this year
The 90% sustainable tire isn’t coming to market yet.
Instead, the company will market a tire made from 70% sustainable ingredients in 2023. That next 20% will require “further collaboration with the company’s supply base,” the company says.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.