Environment

environment article

COMMITTED TO PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

At Dunlop, we are committed to protecting and respecting the environment.

Leading vehicle manufacturers use our tires as original equipment because they trust and respect our quality, development techniques and innovation. However, this alone is not enough. We must also meet the demands of the environment by adopting sustainable practices and using our resources more efficiently.

We practice the latest manufacturing and management techniques and work only to the highest standards as outlined in international standards.

Here are some of our activities:

  • Introduction of an Environmental Management System (EMS) as part of our integrated quality, environment, health and safety management system
  • Promotion of EMS to our customers, suppliers and contractors
  • Environmental performance targets to meet our legal, operational and business requirements
  • Regular audits and reviews on our environmental performance
  • Environmental awareness training for all directors and senior management
  • Appointment of environmental co-ordinators to ensure our EMS is implemented and maintained in line with ISO 14001
  • Continual re-alignment of our environmental policy and business objectives         

Continued commitment

  • We have a series of procedures and initiatives to ensure continual improvement of our environmental performance           

Dunlop set environmental objectives every year as part of our business planning process.

Design
Whatever the tire, our design engineers develop quality products that meet the demands of our customers - and the environment.
Here are some examples:

  • Extensive market research, research and development, computer modelling and rigorous testing
  • Continual improvement of our low-rolling resistance tires (offering lower temperature generation and attrition without loss of grip) for longer lasting products and improved fuel economy
  • Development of new materials and compounds for lighter and more durable tires           

Manufacturing

  • While our production efficiency increases every year, we have also successfully reduced our energy consumption and waste.           

Energy consumption
Today, we need an average of 40% less energy to make a tire than in 1985.
Here are some examples of our savings:

  • Improved insulation and condensation recovery
  • Idle running systems added to machinery
  • 75% reduction in N0x emissions
  • 30% reduction in steam and electricity           

Reducing waste
By addressing every aspect of production, our internal waste reduction programme has achieved considerable cost savings - and reduced our impact on the environment.

We are also:

  • Working throughout Europe to exceed the requirements of forthcoming environmental legislation on scrapping tires
  • Always exploring alternative recycling methods         

We recycle:

  • Rubber
  • Polythene
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Paper
  • Plastics 

Improving distribution
We always strive to become more efficient and environmentally responsible in our logistical operations.

Here are some of our improvements:

  • New warehouse with paperless, computer-driven system and high-fidelity relays
  • Demountable fleet with smaller aerodynamically sound vehicles
  • Widened delivery area
  • Once-only product handling
  • Where appropriate, we adopt intermodal from Europe 

Tire recycling
We are opposed to using landfills for tire disposal and believe tires can be used for their energy.

Tires yield a calorific value about 10% higher than coal so, for example, their energy can be used to manufacture cement or generate electricity - if combusted in an environmentally acceptable way.

Tire re-treading
Unless exempted by standards legislation, the vast majority of our tires are suitable for re-treading.

Also, all our truck and bus tires can be re-grooved, which, depending on the application, allows us to extend a truck tire's life to more than a million kilometres.

Paper
Working with a specialist company, all our waste paper is recycled as raw material for tissue manufacture.

Polythene
We use polythene throughout the rubber manufacturing process as a protection film for the rubber compound and an identification aid for components.

Recycling polythene has lowered our expenses and helped protect the environment: Much of our polythene is 'embossed', which we can easily remove from sticky compounds or thin components. When recycled, polythene produces damp-proof course strip, 'sleeping policemen', dustbins and bin bags

Water
We require large quantities of water for cooling, heating and steam for moulding.
To reduce our environmental impact and costs, we use closed re-circulating systems wherever possible.

Raw materials
Our materials department sources raw materials that improve product performance and minimise environmental impact. In practice:

  • We convert raw materials into rubber compounds and their components with maximum safety
  • We handle and transport our materials in line with strict standards to minimise adverse effects on our employees and the environment
  • We have replaced materials known to contain nitrosamine or nitrosamine generators with safer alternatives, such as 'green' silica technology
  • We have replaced oils containing polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and substituted solvent-based products with aqueous alternatives
  • All these advancements have reduced our waste significantly. Also, when we can't recycle waste, we can now dispose of it safely.           

Raw materials suppliers
We work closely with our suppliers to develop environmentally acceptable materials. For example, we ask our suppliers to use materials that are easier to process and require lower working temperatures. 

We also: 

  • Use additives to reduce vulcanisation time during moulding
  • Capture and recycle process dusts and solvent fumes with extractors
  • Receive a high proportion of raw materials in bulk or multi-trip containers - which reduces packaging waste         

Noise pollution
In the developed world, traffic noise is the most common form of acoustic pollution. Road surface textures and tire patterns are the main causes.

Noise limits refer to the noise omitted by a vehicle, rather than by its component parts, but this is all set to change in 2006 when newly fitted (OE) tires will be set their own limits.

Currently limits are set between 72 and 76db depending on tire width for cars travelling at 80km/h. Limits for motorcycles are set at 82db for 50cc - 125cc and 86db for motorcycles that are 125cc and over.
In the last twenty years, vehicle noise has stabilised. This is partly due to new tires that offer excellent grip in wet conditions.

For example the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx is already below future EU noise limits.

All results refer to a vehicle travelling at 80km/h
Currently valid EU limits NEW EU limits* Dunlop SP Sport Maxx
Width in mm Noise dB (A) Noise dB (A) Noise dB (A)
> 145 72 70 **
155-165 73 71 ** 
175-185 74 72 **
195-215 75 73 72.4
225-235 76 74 72.8
< 235 76 75 71.5

* From 2007
** N/A The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx is not available in these sizes.

Historically, quieter tires have suffered a reduction in grip. However, using modern analytical methods, computer-aided engineering and modelling, our designers have created tires that offer uncompromised - and improved - grip.

We have been instrumental in helping the European Union prepare a directive aimed at reducing noise pollution from tires.

Dust
While we bind chemicals in a vulcanised rubber matrix, materials and reaction products become tire dust through road surface attrition.

The effects of tire dust are being investigated. For example, tests at the Institute Pasteur in Lille, France have shown the toxicity of worn-off rubber particles is less than one five hundredth of the level required to be classified toxic by the European Union.

The European Union and other legislative bodies keep us informed on research. We also work closely with European association working groups (e.g. British Rubber Manufacturers Association and Bureau de Liaison des Industries du Caouthouc de L'U.E.) and endeavour to respond positively to proven environmental threats.

Here are some improvements we have made already:

  • We have eliminated all nitrosamine generating ingredients from our products
  • We do not use any of the chemicals detailed in the Montreal Protocol as ozone depleters
  • According to IP 346, our truck tires contain no ingredients with polyaromatic hydrocarbon levels greater than 3%