Retreading commercial truck tires is a longstanding practice. Retreading is the process of taking a high-quality casing where the tread has been worn down and remanufacturing it with a new layer of tread, requiring a fraction of the raw material usage of a new tire.1 In 2017, approximately 14.3 million commercial truck tires were retreaded, saving approximately 214 million gallons of oil and 228 million pounds of steel.2 In many circumstances, a premium tire can be retreaded 3 or 4 times during its service life, multiplying its environmental and economic benefits.3
When it comes to retreads, life-cycle analyses on major tire brands4,5 have demonstrated substantial benefits to the environment. These studies detail a host of benefits that impact global warming, resource reductions, CO2 and particle emissions, and even land usage. For example, a single 18-wheel truck that utilized retreaded tires in lieu of new tires would save enough energy to power 29,000 homes for 1 hour.6
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The retread market has continued to decline in recent years with more ultralow-cost tires being purchased that are generally used only once. While 14.3 million tires were retreaded in recent years, this number has dwindled from 15.6 million in 2014.7 This trend will have a significant impact on the environment as more tires are being placed into waste streams, and post-use phase tire recyclers will be faced with mountains of tires, potentially unraveling the progress made to date on scrap tire piles around the world.8