Italian retreaders met in Imola for their annual meeting: enhancing the role of retreads to support the “green” transition, looking at environmental policies as well as producers
49.9 million euro. This is the amount of cash saved in 2020 in Italy thanks to the use of retreaded tires. But there is more: still in 2020, the use of retreads allowed the country to reduce energy consumption by as much as 21.1 million litres of oil and equivalent, save 15,600 tons of raw materials and avoid flooding the environment with 18,719 tons of used tires and 8,268 tons of CO2. These data of great interest for the country's economy and for the environment emerge from the environmental and economic report of tire retreading in Italy in 2020 drawn up by Airp (Italian Tire Retreaders Association).
As the above data show, one important aspect that emerges from Airp's report is the savings obtained thanks to the use of retreaded tires, savings that have benefited end users, for the most part Italian goods and passenger transport companies. As a matter of fact, nowadays, retreaded tires are mainly used on private and public commercial fleets. Besides saving money, the environmental impact is likewise especially important. In fact, the use of retreaded tires offers significant environmental advantages, since the production of a retread generates considerable savings in terms of energy, raw materials and CO2 emissions compared to the production of a new tire.
However, despite these remarkable results, Airp points out that the retread industry is going through a difficult phase and that the economic and environmental benefits obtained thanks to the use of retreads could be even greater if concrete measures to support the sector were implemented. The market share of retreads, as Airp points out, has declined both in Europe and in Italy, and this is due to a combination of several factors. The first, undoubtedly, was the drop in the volume of cargo and passengers in 2020, a drop that was especially felt during the general lockdown from March to May 2020 due to traffic restrictions and production activities being temporarily halted as a result of the Covid emergency. A second factor that has affected the decline in retread sales is the renewed competition from new, low-cost tires of such low quality that cannot be retreaded.
Despite the uncertainties, according to Airp the prospects for a recovery for the retread industry are encouraging. The shortage of raw materials such as natural rubber, necessary to produce tires, should in fact make retreading even more strategic. Moreover, several European and Italian plans and instruments dedicated to the circular economy are being developed, with important and ambitious goals. Airp hopes that within the framework of these plans, concrete measures will be implemented to support those sectors that have always been an example of virtuosity, such as tire retreading.