Automotive

Concept tire made of 93% recycled or renewable materials

26th January 2022
Beatrice O'Flaherty

For decades, Nokian Tyres has been striving to make the world a safer place. The company reaches yet another milestone, as it introduces its most sustainable tire yet. The Nokian Tyres Green Step concept tire is a masterpiece of sustainable innovation with its ambitious design consisting of 93% of the materials either recycled or renewable.

It moves the company even closer to its goal: by the year 2030, 50% of all raw materials used in Nokian Tyres’ tires will be recycled or renewable.

Nokian Tyres Green Step leads the way to more sustainable driving 

In 2021, Nokian Tyres set an ambitious target: by the year 2030, 50% of all the raw materials used in its tires will be recycled or renewable. The Nokian Tyres Green Step concept tire is a testament to the ingenuity of Nokian Tyres R&D as well as its ambition to make driving more sustainable. 

“Drivers are more and more interested in the sustainability of their tires, and this creates demand for us to create tires for these standards. It also puts pressure on the industry to develop more eco-friendly materials, as well as for tire manufacturing technology to adapt to these materials. With a concept tire like the Green Step, we can push the limits. It’s a win-win for all, but especially for the environment,” says Development Manager Jouko Ilomäki from Nokian Tyres.     

All rubber used in the Green Step concept tire is natural, and renewable oils such as canola oil, is used. Almost all plasticiser, resin and processing aids are from renewable resources. In addition, natural rice husk ash silica works as a main filler for the tread and sidewall, and renewable cord fiber is used to make the tire tougher.   

“We learned new things with every innovation made for the concept tire. For example, one of the most demanding tasks was to replace the synthetic rubber completely with natural rubber, which we achieved in the end,” Ilomäki says. 

The share of recycled materials will increase in the future  

Almost every component of the Green Step also includes some recycled materials. For example, the carbon black used in the rubber compounds was derived from end-of-life tires, and the butyl used in the inner surface as well as the steel in the steel belts and bead wires in the structure are mainly recycled.  

“We believe that using recycled rubber and especially recycled carbon black will be a future trend in tire manufacturing: by the year 2030, we will have multiple new suppliers and more advanced technology. Also, the demand for raw materials with either recycled or renewed components will increase. We are very happy to be able to corporate so many recycled elements in the Green Step already,” Ilomäki says.   

Benefitting drivers around the globe 

The Nokian Tyres Green Step is a winter tire and it is drivable on snow and ice. Some of the materials used in the concept tire are familiar from various Nokian Tyres’ previous tire models. Natural rubber is an important material in all tires because of its beneficial features. Alternative sources for natural rubber, such as the guyule plant, are also researched. Renewable oils are common in Nokian Tyres’ tires, as Nokian Tyres stopped using high-aromatic oils as the first tire manufacturer in the world in 2005.   

“Even though the process of designing the Nokian Tyres Green Step started about a year ago, it is actually a result of decades of innovation and accumulated expertise on sustainable tire design,” says Teemu Soini, Senior Manager, Materials Development from Nokian Tyres. “Many of the sustainable innovations found in the Green Step are already used in our tires, and regular drivers have been able to benefit from them for years. We made new innovations during the process of designing the Green Step and they will be incorporated in the future tires offered to consumers all around the globe. We wanted to explore the limits of our sustainable innovation capabilities and the result was the Green Step. It is a testament to our ambition and knowhow.”  

Concrete actions towards a safer world  

Since the day we invented the world’s first winter tire in 1934, Nokian Tyres’ premium winter tires have been treasured by generations of drivers who wish to enjoy peace of mind in all conditions. However, Nokian Tyres isn’t just focused on protecting drivers; the company also works relentlessly to help protect the world around us. This is demonstrated in all our actions, from tire design to production: we were the first tire company to have our ambitious Science Based Targets for reducing CO2 emissions approved and have lowered the rolling resistance of our tires by 8.5% on average since 2013, saving fuel and decreasing CO2 emissions. The Nokian Tyres Green Step tire is yet another demonstration of this passion, and the innovation that went into crafting the tire will benefit generations to come. It is another step on the journey towards a safer world.

Nokian Tyres Green Step concept tire: 

  • 93% of materials recycled or renewable 
  • Renewable materials include natural rubber, renewable oils and natural rice husk ash silica 
  • Recycled materials used in almost every component of the tire 
  • Recycled materials include recycled steel and carbon black 
  • Innovations created for the concept tire will be incorporated in future tires 
  • The target is to have 50% of all raw materials used in the Nokian Tyres’ tires recycled or renewable by the year 2030 

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