Hanover, December 4, 2020. The Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire from Continental has won the German Sustainability Award 2021 in the category “Responsible Design”. The first series-built bicycle tire made of dandelion rubber, listed in the classification “Pioneer”, convinced the jury of experts. The series production of a tire made of dandelion rubber is an important milestone in Continental’s sustainability strategy. The dandelion rubber used is cultivated, extracted and processed in Germany. Local raw material extraction avoids long transport routes, reduces CO2 emissions and conserves valuable resources. By awarding the Urban Taraxagum, the jury of design and sustainability experts honored equally the production of Continental’s bicycle tire made of dandelion rubber as well as its profile and sidewall design, which combines various elements with the origin of the natural rubber in the tread compound.
“We are very pleased to receive this award,” said Dr. Carla Recker, who heads the development project for obtaining natural rubber from dandelions at Continental. She added: “The fact that we came out on top among 54 finalists shows that our Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire is a unique product that contributes to the development of a new, alternative and sustainable supply of raw materials.” Sustainable and responsible management has been an integral part of Continental’s corporate strategy and development for many years. This also includes efforts to ensure that natural rubber will no longer be imported exclusively from the tropics in future, but will be extracted as close as possible to the tire plants.
The Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire, available on the market since 2019, is the first serial product made of dandelion rubber that combines local production with minimal transport distances in the supply chain. It was developed especially for the sustainable lifestyle. The tire has now been produced for two years at Continental’s tire plant in Korbach, Germany. In the Taraxagum research laboratory in Anklam, Germany employees from agricultural sciences, chemistry, production and process engineering are tasked with the cultivation of the plants as well as the development, construction and operation of machines for experimentation with the processing of the Russian dandelion.
The industrialization of the cultivation of dandelion rubber is the goal of the long-term Taraxagum project of Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME). Taraxagum should in future be used for a wide range of other products, such as car and truck tires, agricultural tires and technical rubber goods. In addition to the IME, the project is embedded in a network with other key partners such as the Julius Kühn Institute and the plant breeder ESKUSA. This network is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Tourism of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany as well as with funds of the European Union from the Operational Program of the ERDF in the funding period 2014-2020.
In 2020 the German Sustainability Award is presented for the thirteenth time. It is an initiative of the German Sustainability Award Foundation in cooperation with the German Federal Government, the German Council for Sustainable Development, business associations, civil society organizations and research institutions. Once a year, the German Sustainability Award honors companies and organizations that are particularly committed to sustainability with the aim of providing guidance to consumers looking for sustainable alternatives. For the first time this year, the prize was awarded in the category “Responsible Design”.