The undiscovered truth about pollution from tyres

Last week we discovered through discussing the BBC news article about car tyre and brake dust that tyres affect air quality significantly because of particulate matter and account for up to 30% of microplastics in our rivers and sea. The crazy thing is that tyres are completely unregulated against a backdrop of regulation for tailpipe emissions (see here unece report).

It turns out they have very little natural rubber left in them and have some pretty nasty carcinogenic oil derivatives. The particulate matter does not break down quickly and studies have shown that a decent amount is airborne and can be taken directly into the organs causing all types of horrible disease, including cancer.

There is also the added end-of-life impact. 15% end up in landfill, 34% go to construction and 46% get burnt. The evidence is that this is a major contributor to climate change and causes appalling air quality issues.

Tyres seem like a massive issue, especially when there is no real incentive for tyre companies (earning more than the car industry) to change their practices. The ready advice is buy long lasting tyres, but that doesn’t get rid of the end-of-life issue.

Can people share what they know about this:

  • Did you know this problem existed and what will you do about it? (polls below)
  • Have you found tyre companies that address the issues? If so, what are the costs and benefits and how do we get hold of those tyres?
  • Do you think we should just do something different? Move freight by rail instead of road, ditch cars all together?
  • What policy should be in place to tackle this issue?

Chip in on this topic of the week - even if it is to tell us that you simply didn’t know about this issue…

1 Like

Did you know about this issue before?

  • This is completely new to me
  • I knew something about this before
  • I’ve known about this for a while

0 voters

What will you do in learning about the issues now?

  • Keep calm and carry on as I was - the industry has to change
  • I’m going to read into the subject a bit more before taking action
  • When I buy tyres next I’ll buy long lasting tires
  • I want information on tyres that tackle all the issues before taking action
  • I’m going to consider driving less
  • I’m seriously thinking about lobbying government on this

0 voters

The only actual solution to this, as with all issues of ecological destruction, is focusing increasingly on regenerating local economies so that the need to travel itself is increasingly diminished.

1 Like

Nice one!!! Agree, let’s travel less…