Tire Pollution is a Problem, Here’s One Solution

The electrification of cars and trucks is already well underway, contributing to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improvement in air quality. But Mother Nature advocates won’t stop after the combustion engine is gone.

Pollution from tires is a big deal, too, and another reason why many people are preaching the use of public transit to remove vehicles—and rubber—from the road.

Claiming that tires are the second-largest microplastic pollutant in the world and that the extra weight of batteries in EVs will only make matters worse, a group of students in London, England called “The Tyre Collective” has imagined a solution that aims to address the problem right at the source.

As shown in the video above, a device mounted to the wheel collects the tiny rubber particles that are projected in the air as the tire makes contact with the road.

Consequently, instead of these particles falling to the ground and being washed away by rain into sewers before ending up in waterways, they would immediately be captured. The next step would to empty the device once in a while, separate the particles (which is a simple, easy process, the students say), and recycle that used rubber to make new tires or other components.

Photo: The Tyre Collective

This is pretty clever and a noble idea, for sure, but is it realistic to apply such a solution to all vehicles on the road? That’s another story.

Also, consider that most of today’s EVs—and naturally those in the future—ride on low-rolling resistance tires that are more efficient and less prone to wear. Michelin even recently announced the world’s first carbon-neutral tire. We’re in for more surprises down the line.

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