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Continental General Tire Uses State Grant to Enhance Recycling Research

2 August 1999

Continental General Tire Uses State Grant to Enhance Recycling Research
          Tire Manufacturer Seeks Stable Supply, State Aims to Reduce
                             Landfills, Spur Business

    CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 2 -- A novel, year-old, business-
government partnership is helping Continental General Tire Inc. and the state
of North Carolina achieve important strategic objectives.  The arrangement
helps Continental General Tire optimize tire recycling and helps North
Carolina rid its landfills of scrap tires.
    Boosted by a $1.2 million state grant, Continental General Tire's
recycling program aims to increase recycled rubber content in its tires and
assure a stable local supply of recycled rubber material.
    Grant money is designated for use over four years, to subsidize intense
research aimed at expanding recycled material usage.  In Continental General
Tire's case, the grant augments its established, ongoing recycling efforts.
    Since the grant arrangement began in July 1998, Continental General Tire's
recycling program has kept 500,000 used tires out of landfills and
significantly increased the percentage of recycled rubber material in its
tires.
    "One year after applying the grant, we're recycling at a rate that keeps
12 million pounds of used tires out of landfills," said Ed Morant, Continental
General Tire's director, materials/radial light truck development tire
technology.  "Our goal for the next 12 months is to increase that rate of
usage."
    In July 1998, North Carolina granted Continental General Tire the funds
through a Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Waste
Management program called Development of Manufacturing Methods for Tire-to-
Tire Reuse of Scrap Tires.
    "As we continue our efforts to protect our environment and the health and
safety of our citizens, we welcome the contributions of private industry,"
said North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.  "This public-private
initiative is another example of the progress we can make toward a cleaner
environment if we work together to solve our problems."
    Through the grant, Continental General Tire benefits by helping its home
state reduce landfills.  Additionally, by recycling more tires, Continental
General Tire hopes that more recyclers will start businesses in North Carolina
and that current recyclers will stabilize and grow their companies.  That
would help rectify a scarce local supply of high-quality recycled tire
material.
    Continental General Tire's elaborate testing procedures and stringent
manufacturing standards ensure that tires containing recycled tire material
perform as well as tires made from virgin rubber.
    Turning waste into a valuable resource complements Continental General
Tire's strategic emphasis on technological innovation.  Currently, Continental
General Tire's radial passenger tires contain up to 6 percent recycled tire
material, while radial light truck tires contain as much as 4 percent.
    "We expect the percentage of recycled tire material in our tires to
increase up to 25 percent in the next four years," said Morant.  "That will
require a reliable supply of certain grades of recycled tire material that
meets our manufacturing requirements.  Recycling is the right thing to do.  It
makes sense for us, just as it does for the state of North Carolina."
    Based in Charlotte, N.C., Continental General Tire Inc.
(http://www.contigentire.com ) is a group company of Germany-based Continental AG, a
leading systems supplier to the automotive industry.  With annual sales of
approximately US$1.7 billion, Continental General Tire has 9,300 employees and
operates plants in Bryan, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Mayfield, Ky.; Mt. Vernon,
Ill.; and Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.  It is a major supplier to
the original equipment and replacement tire markets, selling Continental,
General and private brands in the United States.