Going circular in the tyre industry
7 September 2018
ING has invested in Black Bear Carbon (BBC), a company that recycles old tyres into a raw material used to make things like pen ink, smartphone covers and new tyres.
The raw material ‘carbon black’ is used to make many things we use daily and is traditionally obtained by burning oil, a highly polluting process. At the same time, 1.5 billion tyres are wasted or incinerated each year, which releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). Black Bear tackled both of these problems by developing a technology that turns these tyres into carbon black.
“It is remarkable that Black Bear is capable of making old tyres into such a valuable product that can replace a polluting raw material,” said Mark Weustink from ING Sustainable Investments.
The investment is part of a €11 million funding round that will be used to improve Black Bear’s technology, currently only available in the Netherlands, and help the company expand globally.
Black Bear’s factory, operated in partnership with Kargro, one of Europe’s biggest tyre recyclers, processes more than one million tyres annually. This produces 5,000 tonnes of carbon black, 5,000 tonnes of bio fuel, and two megawatt hours of green electricity.
ING launched Sustainable Investments early this year with €100 million of capital for sustainable ‘scale-ups’ that have a proven concept and make a positive environmental impact. Black Bear is its second investment, following Exasun, known for its solar panels.