The UK-based retreader Vaculug held its second Sustainable Thinking Forum at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London on Wednesday 18 October.
Key Progress Reported on Work Programme
This series of events, sponsored by Vaculug customer Hankook, and attended by a select group of invited guests from fleets, vehicle and equipment suppliers, trade associations and the trade press, aims to enhance the sustainability of what we do as an industry, by raising the profile of certain topics, instigating dialogue and carrying out work projects arising out of that dialogue. This fits in closely with Vaculug’s own sustainability plan – the company has set itself the ambitious target of being net-zero by 2030, the only retreader to have pledged this.
Vaculug’s Sustainable Thinking Forum is designed to cover the subject of sustainability in the widest possible sense. Topics covered during the event were as diverse as casing management and retreading, fuel saving tyres, data management, the impact of electric vehicles on the tyre sector, the management and improvement of daily safety checks for drivers, wheel security, industry skills and recruitment, MOTs, tyre husbandry and service, and Legislation (eg Fuel Duty, Low Emissions Zones, HGV permits etc.).
Speakers included Guy Heywood from Hankook, who spoke on Decarbonisation and Advanced Technologies, giving a long term view of the industry, Peter Taylor from the Tyre Recovery Association, Alex Whittle from Central Tyre and John Comer from Volvo Trucks.
Central to the event, however, was a session introduced by Vaculug’s Chief Growth Officer, Glenn Sherwood, who introduced some of the key actions and achievements that arose from the first Sustainability Forum held earlier this year.
The first result from the first meeting was a casing management report produced by Vaculug, which quantified the environmental savings made by Vaculug over an eight month period. Sherwood reported that between January and September 2023, Vaculug collected 160,000 casings, processed 185,000 including those purchased from casing dealers. 76,000 casings were accepted for retreading, 82,000 sent for recycling, and 69,000 retreads were produced.
According to Vaculug, over this period, the environmetal savings made on raw materials compared to new tyres included 4.4 million litres of oil, 2 million kg of rubber, 1.3 million kg of steel cord, and 4.1 million kg of CO2. During this period Vaculug’s VMS Fleet Management Programme also regrooved 4806 tyres, extending tyre life by 25%.
The next major achievement by the group is the creation of the so-called Retorque app, a UK specific app produced for drivers and fleets by Vaculug VMS as an alternative to Bridgestone Global. A working copy of this app is now in Beta Test. Vaculug say they have no issue with the Bridgestone app but have introduced Retorque in order to avoid industry reliance on just one app.
The third area Vaculug are working on, this time in conjunction with Biffa, is a 90 second driver training video designed for use on a drivers app to check tyres on their 15 minute daily walk around check. Once completed the video will be presented to the DVSA.
Of particular interest in this session was an in-depth discussion on the acceptance of retreads and the industry’s overall failure to have really got the message across to fleets about why the would benefit from introducing a tyre policy that includes the fitment of retreads. Worringly one of the fleet guests present at the event admitted to having been unsure about retreads due a belief that retreads were more susceptible to blowouts, which just emphasises the problem faced by the industry overall. If someone attending an event such as this run by a major retreader like Vaculug, can think along those lines, what about everybody else in the market?
The problem was emphasised in Guy Heywood’s presentation about future developments in the tyre sector, during which Heywood emphasised that the key to saving fuel was to get the message across about regrooving, retreading, and the need to maintain tyre pressures.
The Vaculug Sustainable Thinking Forum is a highly useful too, but it’s clear that the retreading industry still has a long way to go to communicate its sustainability message to the market. The next Vaculug Sustainable Thinking Forum has been scheduled for 17 April 2024.