The Plastic Problem Q&A - #1

QUESTION from the audience at PBS NewsHour Presents: the Plastic Problem Panel Discussion

Where does plastic tire dust come from? Are plastics part of the tire?

 

ANSWER
Today’s tires are made up of about 19% natural rubber and 24% synthetic rubber, which is a plastic polymer. As the tire wears out from usage, small bits of this plastic polymer break off, becoming microplastic in the environment. It is estimated that tires account for anywhere from 10% to 28% of all microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

SOURCE: Boucher, Julien, and Damien Friot. Primary microplastics in the oceans: a global evaluation of sources. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 2017.
Kole, Pieter Jan, et al. “Wear and tear of tyres: a stealthy source of microplastics in the environment.” International journal of environmental research and public health 14.10 (2017): 1265.

NEXT QUESTION >

Photo: iStockPhoto

This Q&A is part of The ETERNAL Series event PBS NewsHour Presents: The Plastic Problem.
Watch the Film online
Watch the Discussion
See all Questions