Tyres and the environment

The greatest effect which tyres have on the environment during their life cycle is related to the fuel consumption of the vehicle. For years, tyre developers have strived to decrease the rolling resistance of their tyres, and in doing so, the fuel consumption of vehicles. A tyre is like a decathlete – it needs to be good on many fronts. The aims of product development include excellent grip, superior driving qualities, and environmental friendliness.

Some of the environmental effects of a tyre depend on its raw materials. Over the years, Nokian Tyres has invested a lot in environmentally friendly raw materials. The company voluntarily gave up the use of harmful raw materials and chemicals – now prohibited in the EU – in its tyre design and production a long time ago. The use of harmful oils is completely prohibited today.

Development toward lower noise levels

Noise from roads, present everywhere these days, is a significant environmental nuisance. Tyre developers aim to minimize the noise generated by motor vehicles. Alongside rolling resistance and grip on wet surfaces, one piece of information which must be provided on the EU’s tyre label, compulsory since autumn 2012, is noise level. Tyre manufacturers have been striving to develop less noisy tyres for years.

Consumers can also control the impact on the  environment through their choice of tyres. By choosing tyres with a low rolling resistance – without compromising on safety – you can reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption significantly. Tyre life can be prolonged through economical driving and tyre rotation.

For many consumers, price is one of the most important criteria when choosing tyres. However, combining low rolling resistance with excellent safety properties is a challenging task that requires high-quality special materials. Therefore cheaper prices are usually a sign that significant compromises have been made with regard to one of these properties. All in all, environmentally friendly tyres with good safety properties are practically always a recent product from a well-known tyre manufacturer.

Efficient tyre recycling

The world’s leading tyre developers are located in Europe. One of the main reasons for this is the tyre tests published in magazines in the field. The EU’s regulations have also led tyre developers in a more environmentally friendly direction. The EU has been a pioneer in things such as emission restrictions, and the target values have become more demanding in recent years.

Some decades ago, used tyres were still piling up at landfill sites. Along with other EU countries, Finland has been a pioneer in recycling. Tyres are recycled very efficiently in Finland today, with nearly 100% of tyres being re-used. When buying new tyres, a charge for the eventual recycling of the tyres is included in the purchase price. This means that used tyres can be returned free of charge to any tyre store, and they will be forwarded on for further use. Old tyres are used to make earth fill for earth-moving work, for example.

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