The first tyre with its own circular production-recycling process, the Schwalbe Green Marathon, has been released at Eurobike 2023 and picked up the event’s sustainability Green Award.
Green Marathon tyres are manufactured from 100% recycled black rubber, sourced from used bike, car and truck tyres accumulated and stored by Schwalbe over the past eight years, and separated into its main ingredients by a process developed by Schwalbe and a number of partners.
It total, the tyre consists of 70% recycled and renewable materials, including bead core wire made of recycled steel.
The use of recycled rubber not only reduces the amount of new rubber needed for the manufacturing process, it meant the tyre and its construction was 98% pollutant free, according to a statement from the Eurobike Awards 2023.
Production of the Green Marathon creates 34% fewer emissions than Schwalbe’s Marathon tyre, which has been the company’s best seller since it was launched four decades ago but will now be superseded by its more environmentally friendly successor.
However, Schwalbe aims to improve that emission reduction by another 10% over the next 12 months as it further refines its recycling and reuse methods, according to Felix Jahn, a fourth generation member of the family that founded and has continued to own the company for 101 years.
Felix said it has been four years of hard work to develop the method of processing used tyres – to separate the granulated carbon black from the oil and metal fragments – and to develop the Green Marathon Tyres.
While the black rubber and metal are reused to create new Green Marathon tyres, recycling specialist Pyrum Innovations AG uses the oil to manufacture plastic fibres used by garment company Vaude to produce sportwear.
Felix said when Schwalbe first embarked on the process with Pyrum and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, they had expected to produce entry-level tyres.
However, the level of performance they achieved with the prototype tyres convinced them the new tyres should be an updated Marathon range.
He said the Green Marathon tyres had less rolling resistance, were longer wearing and quieter than the Marathlon models they will replace.
The Green Marathon is designed for city and touring bike, including e-bikes.
Green Marathon tyres were available on the market immediately after the launch and are distributed in Australia by BikeBox.
Free Tattoo Promotion
How dedicated are your customers to your brands?
Schwalbe took a rather hardcore approach to its promotion at last month’s Eurobike 2023, hiring a tattoo artist to offer free tats to anyone keen to have the company’s logo inked onto their skin.
The artist added the logo onto the arms, legs and even a neck of will participants during the first of two public days at the festival, with another 20 people on the waiting list for the following day.