Discussing Microplastics from Tyres

21st June 2019

Our Senior Consultant Dr Chiarina Darrah took part in a panel discussion on the problem of releases of microplastics from tyre abrasion at this year’s Fully Charged Live.

The festival of clean energy technologies and electric vehicles took place over 7th–9th June at Silverstone, UK.  The event featured a full programme of live sessions alongside visitor attractions including a two-wheeler test track, a robotics workshop and live music. Fully Charged is a YouTube channel exploring electric vehicles and renewable energy, hosted by writer, broadcaster and actor Robert Llewellyn and Jonny Smith.

Chiarina appeared on Sunday 9th in a session titled ‘What you need to know about particulate & tyre pollution’, in which she drew on our work on emissions of microplastics into the environment to discuss the scale of the problem, potential policy solutions and what consumers can do to help. The panel was chaired by physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster Helen Czerski, and also featured Richard Lofthouse of Emissions Analytics, independent specialists for the measurement of real-world emissions, and G Erlendsson of Enso Tyres, a manufacturer of sustainable tyres for electric vehicles.

Chiarina said:

“I was delighted to find that the conference was full of cleantech enthusiasts who were interested to hear about microplastics emissions from tyre abrasion and their impacts on the environment. With their support, it will be possible to reduce emissions from tyres to a greater extent, and faster. We urge consumers to support the development of standards on tyre durability by asking for better information and for better products from retailers, as well as to employ the same eco-driving principles that increase energy efficiency – because they reduce tyre abrasion too!”

Our Plastics Drawdown report found that microplastics from tyre abrasion were one of the key pollutants of UK rivers and seas, while our Plastics in the Marine Environment report estimates the amount of tyre dust entering the marine environment to be 270,000 tonnes every year. Other recent work on microplastics pollution includes guidance for businesses on how they should respond to the issue, produced on behalf of Earthwatch Europe, and a report for the European Commission’s DG Environment quantifying the problem of microplastic release and investigating options for reducing releases into the aquatic environment.