During national Earth Day activities this past weekend in Washington, D.C., Bridgestone Americas announced a one-for-one spent tire program that sets a waste-free vision for the future of the tire industry.
Building upon the 98 percent rate of valuable reuse already achieved by the company’s 2,200 Bridgestone Retail Operations stores nationwide, Bridgestone Americas is launching its "One Team, One Planet" Spent Tire Program, which is designed to eventually assure that for every tire Bridgestone Americas sells in the United States, one spent tire (a tire that has been removed from use) will be used for a valuable purpose. One Team, One Planet is the umbrella program for all of Bridgestone Corp.’s environmental activities.
Currently, spent tires in the U.S. go to valuable end-use at a rate of approximately 85 percent, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
"At Bridgestone Americas we are working hard to help preserve our environment for future generations," said Gary Garfield, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas. "We view this program as a major part of our responsibility to do the right thing for the world around us."
Bridgestone Americas designed the initiative to be multi-faceted, with a program for its company-owned stores, a voluntary program for its extended network of affiliated retailers and a community program that provides spent tire collection for neighborhood and river clean-up events.
"The purpose of this program is simple – to improve our environment by moving toward a waste-free tire industry where all spent tires are captured and sent to another valuable use," said John Sheerin, environmental director for Bridgestone Retail Operations and program spokesperson. "It’s a lofty goal, but failure is not an option when it comes to ensuring the future health of our environment. And that’s why we’re not doing it alone. By working together with our affiliated retailers, community partners, academia, government entities and others in our industry, we can and will find even better solutions for our products at the end of their useful lives."
The company has committed, by the end of 2012, that 100 percent of spent tires from its network of company-owned stores in the United States will be sent to valuable use at end of life. This includes all Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Wheel Works and ExpertTire locations. Starting in 2013, the company will launch a voluntary program for its Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer Nationwide Network, which will encourage the company’s sales partners to also strive toward zero waste of spent tires at their stores.
The community clean-up support program, which begins immediately, includes a new partnership with River Network. The Portland-based nonprofit leads a national watershed protection movement that includes more than 2,000 local, state and regional grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds. Bridgestone America’s new community clean-up support program will recycle any spent tires collected during any River Network or other independently organized clean-up event – free of charge. Event organizers can request tire recycling support by filling out the form available at www.OneTeamOnePlanet.com/Americas.
Sheerin added, "It is our goal to make tires found in our natural environment a thing of the past and no longer the poster child of trash."