What is it?  

Bridgestone is one of the world's largest tire and rubber companies. One of its key products are tires for the automotive industry. Bridgestone has a successful tire retreading business model that is operational in countries like the USA and Japan. Companies can buy tires as part of a solution service model, rather than just buying new products. Bridgestone is developing a global retread service in which it collects worn out tires from customers, replaces the worn tread, and delivers tires that are again ready for use. By providing solutions that combine multiple retreads based on the company’s technology and appropriate maintenance, the company maximizes the asset value of tires, while aiming to provide social and customer value of safety, cost efficiency, productivity and environmental efficiency. Through the retreading solution, Bridgestone can learn about tire data to further improve performance and quality, which can be used to design new tires and retreads.

Why is this important?  Rubber manufacturing is part of the chemicals industry, which includes a wide range of products from plastics and rubbers to fertilizers, solvents, and specialty chemicals directly contributes for about 10% of industrial emissions (Bashmakov et al., 2022). While rubber is used in more than 5,000 products, the dominant user is the automotive and aircraft industry which accounts for 70% of production (Pinizzotto et al. 2021a). 

Rubber production from natural sources (rubber trees) sustains about 40 million people globally, with around 90% of production coming from the work of smallholders (Pinizzotto et al. 2021b). Yet, issues may be associated though with a monoculture which affects local biodiversity, and climate change which affects the ability to grow rubber naturally in the future (e.g. more droughts and higher temperatures) (Pinizzotto et al. 2021b).

To improve the sustainability of the rubber industry, sustainable land management and adaptation to climate change are essential, as well as extending product lifetimes and increasing resource productivity by making the most of existing products in circulation.

Retreaded tires reuse the resource of tires casing by replacing the worn tread rubber (i.e., areas that come into contact with the road surface). Retreaded tires use less than one-third of the number of raw materials used in new tires and enable the reuse of other tire components (based on calculations in The Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association, 2021). The retreading solution significantly contributes to the reduction of discarded tires as well as the reduction of waste in communities.

In the case of Bridgestone, assuming that a customer uses the tires three times, comparing the use of three new tires with the use of one new fuel-efficient tire that is retreaded twice, retreading can halve the amount of raw materials used and CO2 emissions generated during the entire life cycle, excluding the use phase (based on calculations in The Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association, 2021).

Main resource strategy: Slowing the loop by reusing tires.

Other resource strategies: Closing the loop eventually though recycling remaining materials.

Business model aspects:

  1. Value Proposition: Bridgestone offers retread tires through a service model that offers the customer cost efficiency, environmental efficiency, and enhanced safety and productivity through retread tires and proper maintenance.
  2. Value Creation & Delivery: Bridgestone collects used tires from customers and retreads them after inspecting them to ensure they are safe for use. Customers can choose to receive retreaded tires made from their own tires or receive generic other high-quality retread tires.
  3. Value Capture: Bridgestone offers the retreaded tires as part of a service model, or at a reduced cost compared to the price of new tires, while aiming to deliver the same level of performance and reliability.


Strategies for degrowth/ sufficiency: Bridgestone offers a lifetime extension service (upgrade tires) and in this way also a Greener alternative (retreaded tires).

Business model experimentation practices: Bridgestone started with initial retreading of tires on a product level and build it up through a full-service model (service solution business model) and gradually expanded its offering to various markets. The biggest market for retreaded tires is now in the USA where demand for retreaded tires is about 40%, and new tires about 60%. In Japan this is currently about 20% (retreaded tires) vs. about 80% (new tires) (source: interview Bridgestone, 10 June 2024).

Tools, methods and approaches used: Bridgestone creates ‘learning loops’, through which lessons learned from the retreading experiences feed back into R&D and product design, to optimize the product design for the circular economy and enable greater product durability and product upgradability (source: interview Bridgestone, 10 June 2024).

Sustainability outcomes: Through retreaded tires, the amount of raw materials can be reduced by more than two-thirds compared to producing new tires, and the amount of used tires that are discarded can also be reduced.


Bashmakov, I.A., L.J. Nilsson, A. Acquaye, C. Bataille, J.M. Cullen, S. de la Rue du Can, M. Fischedick, Y. Geng, K. Tanaka, 2022: Industry. In IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Slade, A. Al Khourdajie, R. van Diemen, D. McCollum, M. Pathak, S. Some, P. Vyas, R. Fradera, M. Belkacemi, A. Hasija, G. Lisboa, S. Luz, J. Malley, (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA. doi: 10.1017/9781009157926.013

Interview (2024) Bridgestone Corporation. Interview with sustainability specialists on 10 June 2024.

Pinizzotto, S., Nair, L., Jianfeng, G. 2021a. Natural rubber: A strategic material for a sustainable world. pp. 82–84

Pinizzotto S, Kadir AASA, Gitz V, Beuve JS, Nair L, Gohet E, Penot E and Meybeck A. 2021b. Natural rubber and climate change: a policy paper. FTA Brief 6. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR.

The Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association, Inc. 2021. Tyre LCCO2 Calculation Guidelines Ver. 3.0.1,  December 2021.




About project Circular X

Project Circular X is about ‘Experimentation with Circular Service Business Models’. It is an ambitious research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) which supports top researchers from anywhere in the world. Project CIRCULAR X runs from 2020-2025.  The project is led by Principal Investigator (PI) Prof Dr Nancy Bocken, who is joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. The project cooperates with businesses who want to innovate towards the circular economy.

Project Circular X addresses a new and urgent issue: experimentation with circular service business models (CSBMs). Examples of such new business models include companies shifting from selling products to selling services and introducing lifelong warrantees to extend product lifetimes. However, CSBMs are far from mainstream and research focused on experimentation is little understood.  The research aims to conduct interdisciplinary research with 4 objectives:

  1. Advancing understanding of CSBMs; their emergence and impacts
  2. Advancing knowledge on CSBM experimentation
  3. Developing CSBM experimentation tools
  4. Designing and deploying CSBM experimentation labs
Funding source

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No. 850159. 

Using of this information

When you refer to this case, please use the following source:

Circular X. (2024) Case study: Bridgestone - Retreading Tire Service Model. Accessed from