While e-bikes themselves are good way of taking the first steps into a more sustainable, lower carbon-emissions lifestyle, whether or not e-bikes are actually as environmentally friendly as manufacturers would have you believe is still up in the air. Indeed, although operating an e-bike produces zero emissions, the manufacturing process, not to mention the charging, and eventual waste it produces, can still negatively impact the planet.
To address these inevitable issues, we've seen all sorts of companies come up with creative ways to reinvent the bicycle to minimize waste and improve efficiency. We've seen it with the likes of the Jean Fourche e-bike which features completely repairable components that drastically extend the bike's service life. Additionally, companies like Gouach look to develop fully serviceable batteries, drastically reducing unnecessary wastage of battery packs.
This time around, Schwalbe, a bicycle tire manufacturer whom you may have heard of before, is looking to develop e-bike and standard bicycle tires made out of used tires. This will drastically reduce the amount of rubber waste resulting from used tires, as at present, most used bike tires are either incinerated, or end up in landfills. To embark on this recycled tire quest, Schwalbe has teamed up with German company Pyrum Innovations AG for the recycling and preparation of used tires. The raw materials are then handed over to Schwalbe for integration with its world-class bike tire manufacturing technology.
The recycled tires will be used to create what's called Recycled Carbon Black (rCB), which can then be used to produce brand new bike tires. According to Schwalbe, the production of the first rCB tires—for both e-bike and standard bicycle applications—has already started. Once launched in the market, Schwalbe will be the first manufacturer to offer tires made out of recycled Carbon Black.
Schwalbe has long been known for keeping an eye on environmental sustainability. For example, in December, 2022, the company acquired 20,000 used bike tires from Ingo Ruhland's basement in Freising, a town in Bavaria, Germany. Ruhland himself kept the tires in the hopes that one day they could be recycled, and Schwalbe has made that hope a reality. Schwalbe is set to present its first rCB bicycle tires in a few months, so stay tuned for that.