Research Center

Retreads and the Impact on the Environment

Retreading is the Most Environmentally Responsible Tire Choice.

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

  1. 22 gallons of oil are required to manufacture a new truck and bus tire, while only 7 gallons are required to remanufacture a retread. This represents a savings of 15 gallons of oil per retreaded tire and 16 pounds of steel. – RMA
  2. Modern Tire Dealer, facts issue 2018.
  3. Bridgestone/Bandag BASys manufacturing has discovered that ultralow-cost tires are 36% less likely to experience a single retread compared with a high-quality premium tire.
  4. The socio-economic impact of truck tyre retreading in Europe. October 2016.
  5. The socio-economic impact of truck tyre retreading in Europe. October 2016.
  6. Report on “Retread Tires in the United States and Canada.” This analysis considered only the manufacturing phase of the value chain and would likely increase if all phases were considered.
  7. Modern Tire Dealer, facts issue 2015.
  8. 2017 U.S. Scrap Tire Management Summary. July 2018.