Tyres aren’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think about sustainability, sure. But when tyres can increase fuel efficiency (sustainability √) and better breaking in the wet (safety √) making a sustainable choice really starts to tick lots of boxes.
These days I try and do a little research on my significant purchases so that I can make good choices. So, when it came time to replace my tyres pre-summer road trip I started to delve into the world of tyres, something I can’t say I had much interest in prior.
One of the first things I look for pre-purchase is which certifications, if any, a product has. I’m slowly learning which certifications are reputable and which are pure and simple greenwashing. Keep an eye out on the blog for future posts for how to spot greenwashing.
It actually didn’t take long to find a product that was readily available, not insanely expensive, and carried two certifications that I trust. This product was a carboNZero certified and carries the EECA (NZ’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) energywise tick. Two great trustworthy certifications. The certification process is a whole other (future) blog post, so if you’re interested in the meantime I recommend checking out the last two links. There’s lots of great info there.
The product I chose was a Bridgestone Ecopia tyre, and here’s a summary of why:
- CarboNZero certification.
The Ecopia product is the first tyre to achieve carboNZero certification. The certification measures, manages and mitigates the product’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, covering everything from the parts that make up the tyre and production of the tyre, through to freighting it to stores. If you’re interested in exactly what this certification covers for this particular product this is a really interesting read – carboNZero Summary of Certification.
- Fuel efficiency.
It may be overstating things, but the greater the fuel efficiency the less greenhouse gas emissions produced per trip.
Here’s what Bridgestone have to say on the matter:
Ecopia tyres have much lower rolling resistance. Put simply, rolling resistance refers to the amount of force required to power a tyre forward. Reducing this resistance means that less fuel is consumed whilst creating this movement. In fact, independent tests show fuel saving of up to 5.7% compared to a conventional tyre. Watch the video demonstration here.
In turn, this reduces the vehicle’s production of the harmful carbon dioxide emissions that pollute our air and contribute to global warming.
- Some pretty fancy innovation, again, from Bridgestone:
Creating a low rolling-resistance tyre is a molecular science. In a conventional tyre’s compound, carbon molecules inside the tyre clump together, causing friction and generating heat, leading to energy loss. An Ecopia tread compound features state of the art reinforcement technology which keeps the carbon molecules dispersed, minimising energy loss and friction.
Conventional tread compound Ecopia tread compound
Carbon molecule Ecopia molecule
- Price. Let’s just say it was in reach, all things in balance.
I’d love to say this is the cheapest tyre on the market. It isn’t. I struck a really good deal where I felt comfortable parting with my hard earned cash given all contributing factors. Admittedly choosing a more expensive option, even if it is more sustainable, is a fairly rare move for me. But this decision came easy for this Scottish-blooded lass. Mainly because domestic transport greenhouse gas emissions are second only to agriculture in this country. So anything I can do to reduce my transport emissions is significant in lessening my impact on climate change. With a long term view it is conceivable (yet unproved) that I could use less fuel, saving me a little money between filling the tank, which would offset the initial financial outlay made.
And, so far, so good! I’ve already clocked over 1200klm on the open road with them, thanks to the annual summer road trip down the length of the South Island. Keep an eye on the blog for a future post on how I’ve offset my emissions from this trip.
And, if you’re not convinced that Ecopia is for you then I recommend the very useful tool ECCA provides for free that helps find the right fuel efficient tyre for your particular car make and model. It’s super easy to use, you just pop your car registration number in and it does all the work for you. You can find it here.
Image by Brian J. Matis | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0