Rubber tires — a dirty business | DW Documentary

  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • The booming global tire market is worth billions - but this comes at a high price, both to humans and the environment. Over 50 million car tires are sold each year in Germany alone. But where does the natural rubber for them come from?

    The biggest producer of natural rubber for tires is Thailand. More than four million tonnes of rubber are harvested annually in plantations there. And demand for rubber is ever growing - because ever more tires are needed. But the labor conditions in Southeast Asia are harsh - with working days of up to 12 hours and very low wages. In addition, toxic herbicides banned in Europe are used to fight weeds on the plantations. After the harvest, the ‘white gold’ rubber is sold to brokers, who, in turn, sell it on. German tire manufacturers, like Continental, for example, are keen to stress that they use "natural commodities conscientiously.” But many car drivers don’t give a second thought about where the rubber in their tires comes from - and why we don’t recycle used tires more effectively.


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Comments • 3 709

  • SS
    SS  6 hours back

    Ahh this wonderful corporate satanic world we live in. Money is around us, life is behind us. Satans world people, enjoy it.

    • Bobby Chang
      Bobby Chang  18 hours back

      Cost of a tire has gone up...where did $ go?

      • I Had To Make This Account

        anywhere that isn't 1st world living, things are like this. I'm not saying ti right, but changing it all to western standards would cause chaos.

        • PoisonSapphire
          PoisonSapphire  2 days back

          FUCK THE 1% this world is beyond fucked.

          • dougjstl1
            dougjstl1  3 days back

            Obama pay for tires. what Obama real name

            • One Up Three Down
              One Up Three Down  4 days back

              Same desperate living condition as Poppy farmer

              • Ashutosh Sharma
                Ashutosh Sharma  4 days back

                People in the east gives their whole life to live in this condition so that people of West can build their fortunes on😑

                • Ashutosh Sharma
                  Ashutosh Sharma  15 hours back

                  @Michal Matas I don't think people who work for more than 15 hrs per day are lazy.

                • Michal Matas
                  Michal Matas  18 hours back

                  Ashutosh, those people are lazy. No matter how poor you are, you can keep your place clean and organized.

              • Freyr Skidbladnir
                Freyr Skidbladnir  4 days back

                I'm sorry, but living dirty has got nothing to do with manufacturers.

                • Michal Matas
                  Michal Matas  18 hours back

                  Freyr, why are you sorry? It is a true statement.

              • Henry
                Henry  5 days back

                Wow, 7 levels for rating traction and tire efficiency and the noise level rating. Here is the US, you get 3 + 1 levels and no noise rating. Must be nice.

                And after watching the entire video I kinda feel silly about my complaint. I've been to Thailand and it's a beautiful country. I knew poverty was bad there but had no idea the conditions rubber farmers worked in. That's really sad.

                • Jacob Hansen
                  Jacob Hansen  5 days back

                  ▪️Number of cars today worldwide: 1.3 billion

                  ▪️Number of tires worldwide: 5.2 billion

                  ▪️60% of all microplastic in our enviroment comes

                  • Mixtec Jaguar
                    Mixtec Jaguar  7 days back

                    Humans are destroying this planet...

                    • Dreadog
                      Dreadog  7 days back

                      That was quite disturbing especially when you consider how much tires cost today. I suspect none of my money made it to those workers.

                      • Robert Siller
                        Robert Siller  1 weeks back

                        I hate retreads. They can be dangerous and litter our roadways when they fail.

                        • dax kat
                          dax kat  1 weeks back

                          There are many costs involved in making anything beyond the cost of raw materials. There's research/development, labor, distribution, various administrative costs, etc. The whole concept of a government-mandated minimum wage is anti-freedom. Products are priced based on what buyers will pay, and that includes the price of labor. These workers could simply decline to work until their pay and conditions improve, but that entire concept is ignored. We're supposed to believe that these workers simply have no choice. There are always choices. They could stop making babies, for one, and in that way reduce their living expenses. But I'll get bombed for suggesting that these people are in any accountable for their own situation.

                          You want tire prices to drop--stop paying the asking price. If we all do that, prices will fall, and, of course, so will tire makers' profit margins, which will lead to lay-offs and other cost-cutting measures, including diminished quality control. This documentary has one purpose--demonize the industry. It is well made in terms of production values, but it is totally one-sided.

                          • Karabas barabas
                            Karabas barabas  1 weeks back

                            People how you think on our planet millionaires appear, they get that wealth from hard working, NO, they get that dirty money from other people, nations sweat and tears, from keep other people hungry, from keeping them away of they basic daily needs.
                            Exploitations renamed name of Capitalism.

                            • Martin Herald
                              Martin Herald  1 weeks back

                              When I was young, I used retreads on my cars all the time. Not for sustainability, but because I was cheap. I realized after a few years, they were a false economy. They cost half as much, but they didn't handle as well, had a lower speed restriction and wore about twice as fast. So, I paid the same amount of money, to get a higher maintenance product, that performed worse. I worked for a year in a retread factory, in the truck Tyre side. All the machines I saw in this video look familiar, so I doubt much has changed. Also, let's save all those poor people in Asia, by reducing our consumption of rubber. This will further reduce the demand and the price they get paid for their rubber. The workers will get paid less and some would lose their jobs. What kind of a ridiculous solution to the highlighted problems of poverty, is this video offering? This video seems to be some sort of virtue signalling stupidity.

                              • BLISSFUL FAPPER
                                BLISSFUL FAPPER  1 weeks back

                                I've had retreads peel off going down the road before. I will never buy another one again!

                                • Scott Gibson
                                  Scott Gibson  3 days back

                                  How many years ago did that happen? I have never owned any myself as I was afraid of that happening.

                              • Dustin Jones
                                Dustin Jones  1 weeks back

                                "The workers are from Cambodia. They're willing to work for lower wages than Thais" -- Enough said! 100% it's not the tire companies fault. Any company who can get away with it will be tempted beyond their ability to withstand. It's the governments fault for allowing the tire companies to walk all over the workers.

                                • OR Bonds
                                  OR Bonds  1 weeks back

                                  Did i really just watch a michelin commercial in the middle of this? Wow

                                  • Nocturnal Keyboard Warrior

                                    _Bangkok is the centre of the Rubber trade_

                                    • KarmaGunz
                                      KarmaGunz  1 weeks back

                                      Keep up the good work, DW ! Love your content.

                                      • Doug Noble
                                        Doug Noble  1 weeks back

                                        Which more poisonous snakes or herbicide

                                        • SteelJunky
                                          SteelJunky  1 weeks back

                                          There`s nothing such as clear conscience nowadays.

                                          • Hoserfishing
                                            Hoserfishing  1 weeks back

                                            One World Government is all about enslaving most of the World's population by ensnaring them into agreeing to sustainability, climate change, eco friendly ...all garbage terms that are lies to trap stupid people to join in the agenda and cooperate in the fraud they will become victims of.

                                            • Khairi Ali
                                              Khairi Ali  2 weeks back

                                              The europe company never complain on deforestation on rubber farm but complained on deforestation for oil palm. Can i know why?

                                              • zack trever
                                                zack trever  2 weeks back

                                                Clear conscience purchasing

                                                I like this part of Germany 👌

                                                • The BRIDGE 54
                                                  The BRIDGE 54  2 weeks back

                                                  Awesome job, from beginning to end.

                                                  • Jayson
                                                    Jayson  2 weeks back

                                                    The hungry farmers have even less money now that you bought re-treads.

                                                    • Liberty or Death
                                                      Liberty or Death  2 weeks back

                                                      Human labor is the most important resource on earth.
                                                      High populations of unskilled poor people provide an endless supply of this resource.
                                                      This will never change as its beneficial to large corporations, the same corporations that donate (bribe) to the government to influence legislation.
                                                      Only by eliminating money from the entire system will the corporations advantage be taken away, but in order to totally eliminate money society needs to be run entirely autonomously, machines need to do everything & provide everyone with everything free of charge , this is possible.

                                                      • The Kombinator
                                                        The Kombinator  2 weeks back

                                                        I would buy retreads for my car. It can even be B grade as it's a city car that rarely goes over 110 KM/h.

                                                        If I could save money and reduce the carbon footprint, why the hell is this not an option here? (Toronto, ON)

                                                        • Magnetic Fishing Madness

                                                          just... :'( man that is so upsetting

                                                          • David Keith Alexander
                                                            David Keith Alexander  2 weeks back

                                                            This is just a thought,... I am no one important in this world ... I am wondering why cant the BIG name companies ....Pay... the farmers? ..... or build them houses and a very nice place to live? Im totally sure these companies can afford it with Billions in sales each year.... I see and know they can do something.... we all live on the same planet... and should help each others in some small way.... But...the love of money is keeping things as they are.... and to me that is sad.... I hope someone will be able to do something for these farmers, with out them we would have no tires for trucks and cars.....

                                                            • JÖYの貓
                                                              JÖYの貓  2 weeks back

                                                              David Keith Alexander greed..

                                                          • R Here
                                                            R Here  2 weeks back

                                                            I am truck mechanic. I have seen the retread come off on tire on a number of tires. the rest I may agree

                                                            • Chelle
                                                              Chelle  1 weeks back

                                                              R Here exactly. Retreads are so dangerous

                                                          • Longin Adamczyk
                                                            Longin Adamczyk  2 weeks back

                                                            Nice vid for the glory of the DW Documentary. Now, what do you propose, any solution?

                                                            • Ryan Evans
                                                              Ryan Evans  2 weeks back

                                                              Well let's all pay 1000 per tire than.

                                                              • Adam Brake
                                                                Adam Brake  2 weeks back

                                                                Incredible what big corporations are aloud to get away with...

                                                                • Adam Brake
                                                                  Adam Brake  2 weeks back

                                                                  Wow... incredible interview... really hard life... the vary definition of poor people... I understand people got to work...
                                                                  Incredible process...

                                                                  • George Judd
                                                                    George Judd  2 weeks back

                                                                    Very well done , thank u

                                                                    • MrChanthoeun
                                                                      MrChanthoeun  2 weeks back

                                                                      95% of cambodia rubber sold to Vietnam

                                                                      • Narbt Tseren
                                                                        Narbt Tseren  2 weeks back

                                                                        This is industrial colony. This nation is fucked up. The biggest ladyboy population is in this country. The former director of CIA, Allen Dulles created a plan that's taken its toll in the South East Asia. His plan corrupted so many nations and nowdays those nations are under the industrial colony of the western nations.

                                                                        • Hollywood Gold
                                                                          Hollywood Gold  2 weeks back

                                                                          The REAL PROBLEM falls onto the people who run these businesses. One has to be willing to abuse their OWN PEOPLE, or to allow your OWN PEOPLE to be abused. This is where a UNION can improve the lives of people, BUT, a UNION can become GREEDY and hurt the worker as well. Moderation, fairness are required from both, the employer and employee.

                                                                          The abuse of workers in these countries can ONLY HAPPEN BY CHOICE. If these people REALLY valued one another, they would NOT allow themselves to be abused, and the employers would NOT abuse it's own people. Sad really. Just goes to show you, not all cultures are equal.

                                                                          • Paul A
                                                                            Paul A  2 weeks back

                                                                            Why is a tire $120 in the USA. What does it cost to mfg. it and bring it to market?

                                                                            • himakgam
                                                                              himakgam  2 weeks back

                                                                              It would be great if you gave us the price difference between brand new tires and the retreads you opted for

                                                                              • One Two
                                                                                One Two  2 weeks back

                                                                                I think we can all agree that poverty is terrible. And we can all agree that seeing the plantation workers live in poverty is heart breaking. Having said that, if we all opt for retreads and in doing so reduce the demand for natural rubber even further, what are these plantation workers going to have for dinner since they will be out of the job? It's not like they have other jobs waiting for them. As a society we can either have a decently performing stock market which is where the pensions and retirements come from or we can try to hold top tear companies accountable, which will have a double negative effect, pension funds will go bankrupt as companies start to yield less profit and the poverty stricken plantation workers will be out of jobs because they will be replaced by fewer, although better paid workers operating expansive combiners and machinery in some other part of the world.

                                                                                • Wild Bill
                                                                                  Wild Bill  2 weeks back

                                                                                  You cant tell me 100 percent recyclable tires cannot be produced, follow the money, this tells the story

                                                                                  • C.J
                                                                                    C.J  2 weeks back

                                                                                    This is a never ending story. every corporation does the same. its money that drives the machine. ive been here decades and noting changes. im at the point in life that i just dont care about whats going on in my own little bubble with going on the secret cue in the us. documentations are skewed in the drir3ection of defense. thats it. whos right? i dont care any more. i just try to live a comfortable life with all the issues i have in my life. ......... just done care anymore about globalism. give me the thing i need at a moderate price and thats it.

                                                                                    • Mayo taizou
                                                                                      Mayo taizou  2 weeks back

                                                                                      I like this documentary thank you for your work ^^

                                                                                      • Al H
                                                                                        Al H  2 weeks back

                                                                                        Lets stop buying from those countries, screw the people that need work so you can make Hans in Berlin feel better.