An Ontario tire manufacturer plans to open the largest recycled tire production plant in North America.
Green Arc Tire Manufacturing Inc. announced in a release yesterday that it will open a $37-million facility in St. Mary's, Ont., which should create 340 new jobs and produce more than three million "green" tires per year.
"We're proud to be offering Canadians winter tires that are not only green, but have better traction and improve fuel efficiency, at less cost than regular tires," said Mike DiCenzo, COO of Green Arc Tire Manufacturing Inc.
Ontario's Environment Minister, the Mayor of St. Mary's, and the Ontario Safety League were on hand to support the announcement.
Green Arc will put a dent in Ontario's old tire stockpiles by remolding used tires in a process that uses 80 per cent of the original tire.
There are two other Canadian tire remanufacturers, located in Quebec and Nova Scotia, although they operate on a much smaller scale, said Mr. DiCenzo. Remolded tires are "very prevalent" in Germany, Spain, and Italy, he added.
The initiative is expected to encourage drivers to buy winter tires, as the remolded tires will cost 30 to 50 per cent less than regular tires.
"The idea is it costs less money than buying new tires, and you're getting the same performance. The (Ontario Safety League) has run into difficulty trying to promote winter tires because of the cost," said Mr. DiCenzo.
Only 39 per cent of Ontarians use winter tires, according to a study by the Rubber Association of Canada. More troublingly, weather-related collisions in Canada cost $1.1-billion per year, says a report from the Traffic Industry Research Foundation.
"We couldn't be more pleased to support Green Arc in this important safety initiative," said Brian Patterson, President of the Ontario Safety League.
But it's far from certain whether the public will embrace these tires: remolded tires have historically had a bad reputation with consumers.
A 2013 study by the U.S. Department of Safety acknowledged, "despite the (cost) advantages that retreaded tires may bring, public perception is that retread tires are less safe than new tires."
A recent survey by the Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau showed little growth is expected for passenger tire retreading. 77 per cent of respondents expected "no change" or "minimal growth", while 10 percent expected "massive decline" in the passenger tire retreading market.
Mr. DiCenzo insists he has had no problem in marketing the recycled tires. "People are very receptive. I have difficulty meeting the demand…I'm associated with distributors that sell not only domestically but with 90 countries around the world."
The St. Mary's facility is scheduled to open in February, and new tires should roll out in early spring.
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