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Iconic tire company unveils surprising new material in Indy 500 race tires — here's what it is

"We're laying the groundwork to be more responsible and sustainable."

"We're laying the groundwork to be more responsible and sustainable."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bridgestone Americas, a major tire manufacturing company, is innovating by producing Indianapolis 500 tires with sustainable materials, according to a recent article published in Environment + Energy Leader.

The new Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 race tires are made from palm oil waste. Two of the tire's monomers (organic compounds), bio-styrene and butadiene, are sourced from the water residue created during the processing of palm oil. 

Both monomers used in the race tires are certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, which assesses the transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials.

The use of sustainable materials in the Firehawk tires is a step toward Bridgestone Americas' goal of reaching carbon neutrality and producing tires made with 100% renewable materials by 2050. 

All sustainable tires for the Indy 500 are produced at Bridgestone's ISCC PLUS-certified Advanced Tire Production Center, which is located in Akron, Ohio. In 2022, the facility earned its ISCC certification for its transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials. 

By using sustainable and traceable materials in tires, Bridgestone Americas is helping reduce the transportation industry's environmental impact.

Rubber is the primary material used to make tires. However, as tires break down from normal wear and tear, rubber particles pollute the surrounding environment. These pieces as well as the microplastics in tires end up in aquatic and land ecosystems, where they leach toxic chemicals into soil and threaten the survival of local organisms.

Companies across the transportation industry are making changes to decrease pollution from tires and create a cleaner, cooler planet. In a similar environmental initiative, tire manufacturer Goodyear has pledged to make tires from 100% sustainable materials by 2030. 

"We're laying the groundwork to be more responsible and sustainable," Bridgestone Americas says of its sustainability goals. "This will make us more productive and position us to offer more equal opportunities. Getting people down the road matters. But what really matters is getting generations down one."

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