Schwalbe has long been a big name in the bicycle tire industry, specializing in all sorts of tires for both die-hard mountain bikers and urban commuters. Apart from tackling the performance side of bike tires, Schwalbe has long had a keen eye on the environmental side of things. In an article I wrote for InsideEVs back in February 2023, it was reported that Schwalbe was working on environmentally friendly tires made out of recycled materials.
Fast-forward one year later, and Schwalbe has officially unveiled a new range of tires aptly called the Green Marathon. These new bike tires are particularly interesting as they're good not only for regular pedal bikes, but e-bikes too. Accoridng to Schwalbe, the main focus of the Green Marathon tires is to reduce microplastics and emissions from tire production, while at the same time ensuring the rubber used in them is ethically sourced. The company goes as far as claiming that the rubber is 100-percent Fair Rubber with a Fair Trade seal. Germany's Fair Rubber association ensures the welfare of rubber farmers, and is indeed inline with Schwalbe's vision for sustainability.
Schwalbe claims that the production of the new Green Marathon tires makes use of 70-percent renewable and recycled raw materials, which results in an impressive 98-percent reduction in harmful substances. Furthermore, Schwalbe ascertains that its CO2 footprint has been reduced by 34 percent as a result of this initiative.
Indeed, these claims are impressive on paper, but what does this mean for the end user? Well, according to Schwalbe, the new Green Marathon tires maintain high mileage and optimized riding performance. Furthermore, Schwalbe's GreenGuard technology ensures adequate puncture protection. The way it does this is with the use of 100-percent recycled carbon black (rCB) sourced from Schwalbe's recycling initiatives. As a result, this eliminates fossil-based carbon black, while ensuring the same level of quality and longevity.
The way this works is through a long-winded process overseen by Schwalbe from start to finish. Used tires are collected then shredded into granules which are then processed as raw materials for the production of new tires. Schwalbe's recycling initiatives have garnered the company recognition across Europe, as it bagged the Eurobike Innovators Prize in 2022 specifically because of its recycling process.
With all that being said, the new Green Marathon tires is only the start for Schwalbe. As it explains in its website, "responsbility isn't a sprint, it's a marathon." As such, the company is eyeing continuous improvements when it comes to environmental performance. Schwalbe has plans rolling out more eco-friendly tires across all categories no later than 2025, all of which focusing on reducing emissions throughout the tire's entire life cycle – all the way from production, usage, and disposal.