Are Tyres Bad for the Environment?

Tyres are an essential element of motoring and play a major part in road safety – but in recent months there have been many articles in the mainstream press claiming that they pose a considerable risk to the environment. We decided to take a look at the available information to understand the impact that car tyres have on the world around us and what we can do to help minimise any risk.

Why are tyres under scrutiny?

The big question about car tyres and their impact on the environment first hit the headlines back in 2018, when a study commissioned by Friends of the Earth found that vehicle tyres were probably the biggest source of plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans. The key, however, was in the use of the word perhaps. With the subject of plastic rising to the forefront more recently, the debate has come back under the spotlight.

What are car tyres made of?

A modern car tyre is made of a combination of materials. Today, natural rubber is a minor component, while the bulk of a modern tyre is a mix of synthetic compounds, fillers, binders and plasticisers. Besides, there are necessary additives that help tyres to resist UV damage, heat damage and withstand the extreme forces they are subjected to. Such compounds have resulted in significant safety benefits for road users.

Although it may sound like the presence of these artificial materials is terrible news for the environment, it is important to consider what the impact to the planet would be if all car tyres were made from pure rubber (there are estimated to be 120 million tyres in use in the UK alone – specific figures for Ireland are not available). The production of rubber in such vast quantities would actually have an incredibly detrimental effect on the environment, due to the way it is produced.

Solid rubber tyres would be less safe and also weigh considerably more than modern synthetic tyres. As a result, they would be considerably less efficient, resulting in much higher emissions. Overall the damage to the environment would likely be far higher.

Eco-Friendly Tyres

Not all tyres are made equal. Some of the major tyre brands offer tyres made to reduce your fuel consumption. There are energy-efficient tyres that are designed to minimise the rolling resistance leading to better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. The energy rating is displayed on the tyre sticker and is graded from A to G (A being the best).

Car tyre label displaying rolling resistance and grip.

How can I reduce the environmental impact of my car tyres?

There are many simple ways to reduce the impact your car tyres have on the environment – and help to save you money at the same time. Here are some techniques that you can adopt immediately to make your tyres last longer:

  • Drive smoothly  – avoid heavy steering and cornering.
  • Accelerate gently and avoid heavy braking. 
  • Make sure that you drive with a correctly inflated tyre.
  • Remove unnecessary weight such as roof-bars and bicycle racks from your vehicle.
  • Use your gears correctly.
  • Ensure that your old tyres are disposed of properly by an authorised agent.

Following this advice when driving will help to reduce the wear on your tyres, and as a result, help to reduce the amount of residue they leave on the road. You will also be able to reduce the amount of fuel you use, helping to further reduce the environmental impact of motoring.


For the biggest range of Eco-Friendly tyres in Dublin at the best possible prices, choose Tyreland – Dublin’s Cheapest Tyres. We have six branches across Dublin offering a variety of tyre fitting and car servicing services and can save you up to 20% or more off the price of your tyres. Call now on 01 860 20 20 to find your nearest location.

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Saturday  – Business as usual!

While we are closed on Easter Sunday, our SWORDS depot will open on bank holiday Monday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

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