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Schwalbe Announces Its Future of Tire Recycling

Jul 18, 2022 at 6:34
by Ed Spratt  

Schwalbe has announced a new recycling program with the aim to hopefully create new tires using old ones.

After spending decades researching, Schwalbe has revealed that it has now had a big breakthrough in tire recycling. Working together with the Technical University of Cologne and recycling specialists Pyrum Innovations, Schwalbe says it now has a "holistic recycling process" to recycle used tires from all brands without waste.

Schwalbe says that until now bike tires were incinerated causing plenty of damage to the environment, but it says the new process will help close the loop. The new technique was created in a garden shed by Pascal Klein who went on to found Pyrum Innovations where it runs the only tire-pyrolysis plant in the world that operates year-round.

Pyrum Innovations has created a two-step process for the recycling with the tires fire being shredded to create rubber granules, textile fiber and steel. Next the rubber granules are taking to a pyrolysis oven where they are heated at 700°C without oxygen. This step creates a gas that is used to power the pyrolysis plant making it fully self-sufficient. The pyrolysis coke is then worked on to create recycled carbon black (rCB) for future tires. The remaining oil can be used to create textile fibers.

bigquotesRecycling not at any price - we are only satisfied with the result when the quality of the recycled materials meets the necessary level with which we can produce Schwalbe quality again. That‘s why we are researching so intensively with the team from TH Köln and Sebastian Bogdahn.

Recycled materials are not always of the same quality as their original materials. However, this is a must for the success of the project to produce new bicycle tires from used ones. This is something that is being worked on and researched very hard. The tire on the bicycle is a safety-relevant component. Especially with the significantly higher load demands on bicycle tires today, Schwalbe quality and performance must be the same.
Holger Jahn, Schwalbe‘s COO

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,242 articles

  • 98 4
 Did PB not get the memo from Outside that all tire related announcements must be released on the newly created Tire Tuesday and include a free tire giveaway. We will let it slide this week but don't let it happen again or we will cancel our free subscriptions to this free content
  • 75 0
 Well, that's an impressive thing if it works....
  • 19 18
 It had better. Given the rate at which Schwalbes shed knobs, they're gonna run out of rubber soon...
  • 36 9
 @powturn: 2012 called. They asked for their pinkbike comments back.
  • 9 4
 @oldejeans: Marys and Nics still shed knobs just like they did in the pre-Addix area, because the side knobs are still rotated in a way that guarantees the mode of failure will be an entire knob tearing off vs. the gradual process of undercutting. Addix may have slowed the rate of failure, but it didn't fix the design flaw at the heart of the problem. With every other brand on the market, end of tire life comes when the outer row of knobs are too undercut to provide adequate cornering grip, but you still typically have 2/3 of the knob width attached to the casing. In over 3 decades of trying, I've never once torn an entire knob off any other brand. With the last dozen or more Schwalbes I have run since 2012, every single one of them has failed by losing at least one entire knob. Great grip, terrible tread durability, and don't even get me started on the fragility of Snakeskin vs the competition...
  • 4 1
 @powturn: my Marathon Supremes haven't lost a knob in 2000km, even without Addix...

I'll show myself out...
  • 3 1
 @powturn: 30 psi in my Minions I don´t care about your opinions?

My latest Magic Mary Super Gravity Addix Soft all kept their knobs till I wore them down to the ground.

I´ve had the problems you mention on older, golden Magic Mary Super Gravity Trailstars from time to time.

I´m riding solely Magic Mary Super Gravity since 2015. Since 2019 with Nukeproof ARD in the backwheel to reduce my rim consumption to one per year.
Unreparable flats just once or twice in all these years, one being at the EWS in Zermatt with their tire-killer water gullys.

Except for the autumn of 2021 when due to Corona supply shortages I ran Specialized Butcher Grid Trail first, then BlckDmnd and had 5 or 6 flats due to slicing the tires base underneath the knobs on all of them. So I went back to the oh so bad Schwalbe Magic Marys this winter.

The thin SnakeSkin carcass made for very nice light and grippy tires for small or light people, i.e. girlsfriends and little brothers and sisters.
Schwalbe dropped that carcass because too many overweight weightweenie endurobros and OEMs used these tires on their bikes.
  • 1 0
 @JohSch: YMMV. I've ridden in most parts of Germany, and never encountered soil that was as rocky & abrasive as Norcal "cheesgrater" i.e. clay soil embedded w/ decomposed granite, baked hard as a brick 9+ months of the year. Throw in "dragon's teeth" gardens of serpentine rock and compounds softer than MaxTerra don't last more than a few trail rides. If you're riding in softer soils where it actually rains between April and October, and using soft compounds w/ burly casings, I can well imagine you could grind down the corners of your Schwalbe knobs before they get a chance to rip off completely. Around here, it happens within a couple weeks of riding w/ Marys or Nics, whereas comparable Spec, Maxxis, or Vittoria w/ casings in EXO - DD range will hold onto all their cornering knobs 'till they are completely undercut and most of your center tread is gone. Horses for courses, I guess. I like the grip & rolling performance of Marys & Nics, but get 4-5x the life out of competitors' tires on home soil.
  • 63 0
 "Especially with the significantly higher load demands on bicycle tires today" - Lol, y'all a bunch of fatties.
  • 22 1
 Motorized fatties
  • 29 0
 The difference between things invented in Canada and things invented in Europe: the garage vs. the garden shed
  • 19 1
 Don’t forget about the 3 Rs
Reduce- use your tyres until at least 80% of the knobs are lost
Reuse- replace your rear tire with the used front one - you can always give away to some rookies
Recycle- then buy Schwalbe- probably the names will be updated e.g. Recycled Reggie, Hans dumpf…
  • 17 2
 Hopefully this works for all types of tires. Californian’s currently pays a lot of money to “recycle” vehicle tires which is just grinding up the rubber and mixing it with asphalt. I hate having to work near hot asphalt mixed with hot rubber. I’m pretty sure every day working on a rubber pavement job takes a year off my life.
  • 7 1
 I can imagine. I live near a asphalt factory and when they do the mix with the rubber, the entire area smells noxious.
  • 4 3
 Im curious, do you all mask up for that?
  • 2 1
 @snomaster: hell no, it’s usually 90-100+ temp, plus working next to 300f asphalt.
  • 2 0
 I’ve got a recycled rubber floor in my basement and I love it. It’s like gym flooring, but it’s great for any utility or kids room IMO.
  • 11 0
 I'm sure this is pie in the sky, but I'd love to see them work out a program where I can send my old tires in for recycling and get a modest credit towards new tires.
  • 6 0
 Like the core charge on car parts at AutoZone. Especially now that DH capable tires are costing $100+ each from both of the big M and from Schwalbe a few dollars off to recycle the old tires that I have to pay to recycle at the landfill would be a huge selling point to push me to one brand or the other.
  • 13 5
 It has to last as long as the current Schwalbe. Does that mean they have to work hard to decrease the longevity of the recycled product?
  • 3 0
 Small but critical typo..."Pyrum Innovations has created a two-step process for the recycling with the tires FIRE being shredded to create rubber granules, textile fiber and steel"
  • 1 0
 That was horrible
  • 1 0
 a shredded tire fire does not sound environmentally friendly
  • 3 0
 This Is Awesome! I really hope it works and proves to be more than a marketing scheme. Schwalbe makes top notch tires already, but having them made more sustainably than competing manufacturings could be a tie breaker.
  • 3 0
 I always thought that the tires were grounded into food. Such a weird world I guess.
  • 3 2
 Eyyyyyye I see you tryin schwable, amen. I'll buy a magic mary and hans damf combo for downcountry this season, good to see anyone tryin nowadays. Cheers to downcycling! underated comment
  • 3 0
 My 5 o'clock in the morning brain told me twice "Schwalbe announces the future: it retires from cycling"
  • 2 0
 Given that they're £70 a tyre, would that mean I get £20 cash back for every worn tyre I return back to their dealer for recycling?
  • 5 2
 That is downcycling at best what’s happening here.
  • 2 0
 Yesterday I watched a documentation on recycling of plastic in Germany/Europe. Basically it's non existent, most of the sorted plastic waste, especially wrapping is burnt off or shipped to third world for land and ocean fill.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: burning plastic sounds terrible and can be, but some places do it very cleanly (several Scandinavian countries) because they can scrub the exhaust, not just pump it into the atmosphere
  • 2 0
 @Muckal: According to the stats i could find, its not quite as bad, even though there is a ton of room for improvement. Roughly half of all plastic is burned for generating heat and power, replacing oil, coal or gas which would otherwise be used for the same purpose.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: the video said that pretty much only shampoo bottles are fully recyclable. I don't know really but it's far from what it's said to be like.
  • 1 1
 @Ttimer: Good enough then!

Using oil which took thousands to millions of years to develop and out of whom tons of nice things can be made - and then burn it in seconds is stupid anyway.
  • 2 2
 “Schwalbe says that until now bike tires were incinerated…”

Rather a blanket statement which can be easily disproven with 5 minutes of research.
  • 57 0
 Exactly, mine just sit in the shed with the spiders
  • 19 0
 @Smokey79: ahem, I think you mean: '...facilitating a productive environment for small-scale web designers with a view to the reduction of both air-borne and terrestrial invertebrates."
  • 7 0
 @iamamodel: If you don't write that sh1t for a living, you definitely missed your calling.
  • 2 0
 @MrBaldwig: ha ha! But no, that kind of wanky bullshit makes me cringe.
  • 2 2
 It would surely be more holistic to develop tyre production that doesn’t require loads of oil, about 6 kg of oil is used to produce 1 kg of rubber.
  • 20 0
 Don't let perfect become the enemy of good.
  • 1 0
 Is this saying that all tires ever made so far were just incinerated??? My god I never knew :O
  • 1 0
 Or buried in a landfill.
  • 9 0
 @snomaster: Or left out in the open to be the most perfect mosquito breeding grounds man has ever invented.
  • 3 0
 @Chuckolicious: that made me chuckle
  • 1 0
 I thought they were half-buried to edge BMX tracks, but that might only be a 80's thing
  • 1 2
 I feel like tire recycling as progressed past incineration at this point already has it not?
  • 6 1
 pyrolysis is not inceneration
  • 2 2

"Schwalbe says that until now bike tires were incinerated causing plenty of damage to the environment"
  • 3 0
 @warmerdamj: Ahh. I thought you were talking about the process that is the main subject of the article.
  • 8 11
 Great !!! Tell us where to bring the old ones.
Fun Incentive: Bring 10 old ones and get a new Maxxis for free Smile
  • 17 1
 sounds like a perfect promotion given this is a Schwalbe intitiative.
  • 1 0
 @RobKong: That's why it says "fun".
Seriously, I do think this is great and I hate simply dumping old tires because nobody wants them for recycling right now. So I'm wondering how they are going to collect them.
  • 2 1
 @2pi: I take all my old tires to my local recollection point,never get any trouble or must pay something to recycle them. But it is a facility from the council,they take weird rubber tires but not car tires (I have only saw pieces of broken car tires,like those found on the road side).
I like that place,they let me check the place and explain to me what kind of things they have stored for recycling.
They have tons of batteries and piles of computers/tv´s.
  • 1 0
 Wouldn’t it be better for them to offer a set?
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