Continental is the first tire manufacturer to immediately launch volume production of recycled polyester yarn which is obtained from PET plastic bottles in a new process. The new high-performance material will first be used in selected sizes for Continental’s PremiumContact 6 and EcoContact 6 summer tires and the AllSeasonContact tire. This completely replaces the conventional polyester in the carcass of the selected tires. A set of standard passenger car tires uses the material from around 40 recycled PET bottles.
In September 2021, Continental unveiled the inhouse ContiRe.Tex technology for the first time. It uses polyester yarn, which is obtained from used PET bottles without any intermediate chemical steps and not recycled in any other way. This makes the technology much more efficient than other standard methods for processing PET bottles into high-performance polyester yarns. The bottles used for the technology come exclusively from regions without a closed recycling loop. As part of a special recycling process, the bottles are sorted and mechanically cleaned, after the caps are removed. After mechanical shredding, the PET is further processed into granulate and finally spun polyester yarn.
“We only use high-performance materials in our premium tires. From now on, these will include polyester yarn from PET bottles, made in a particularly efficient recycling process. We brought our innovative ContiRe.Tex technology to the production stage in just eight months. I’m proud of our entire team for this remarkable achievement,” says Ferdinand Hoyos, who heads Continental’s tire replacement business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He adds, “We’re constantly expanding the share of renewable and recycled materials in our tires. By 2050 at the latest, we want to use only sustainable materials in our tire production.”