Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tires and the Socially-Conscious Consumer

As long as we all love our cars, which we do, we will need tires, and gasoline, and oil, and other things that are currently not being manufactured or disposed of in a sustainable way. Instead of putting the socially-conscious consumer in the uncomfortable position of rejecting a reality of their existence, a savvy part manufacturer can illustrate a way to create change for the better, be it through communicating advanced processes in manufacturing or illustrating the recycling options available.

When it comes to the environment, it seems as if tires have everything stacked against them. It takes 22 gallons of oil to produce one tire that in turn gets used for a few years before being tossed. Americans alone throw away 275 million tires a year, and three billion of them are sitting around in stockpiles, landfills and on roadsides as we speak. These piles can burst into uncontrollable toxic fires, and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin. But as long as people have cars in the way we know them now, people are going to be using tires. So, instead of focussing on the negatives of tires, and throwing up our arms and saying that driving is evil, why don’t we concentrate on a realistic way of dealing with the recycling of tires.

The most common method of recycling tires is a process called retreading. Retreading can bring an old tire back to life, and it uses only 30% of the energy required to make a new tire. The best tire retailers actively encourage retreading, but there are also better, more efficient uses of tires in the afterlife.

This issue is best juxtaposed with paper. Ideally, we would never need to chop down trees to make paper products. But until then, it is better to encourage the use of 50% recycled paper than the fresh stuff.

While we are on the topic, here is a great ad from Bangkok.

Creative Wonders Link


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