Rubber tires - a dirty business | DW Documentary

  • Published on Sep 17, 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 • 3 283

  • faceless127
    faceless127 30 minutes ago +1

    So you guys asked the lady if she could disclose the name of the company she sells the rubber to and when she couldn't, you follow the truck???
    You probably just got her fired.

  • Uncle Sticky
    Uncle Sticky 34 minutes ago

    The rubber harvesters don't make enough money for food but the children have phones to play games on. (19:33) Sorry, but you lost my sympathy there. Maybe you want to edit that out?

  • Daniel OBrein
    Daniel OBrein 58 minutes ago

    in the old days they did not

    MAKSTR 2 hours ago

    I know I sure paid for them.

  • grhman
    grhman 6 hours ago

    Ill never understand the poorest counties have so many kids and pregnant woman and complain we have nothing to eat

  • Nothing Promised
    Nothing Promised 7 hours ago +1

    Retreads have belt issues. I bought a set thinking I was being eco conscious. Unfortunately they only lasted a few months. Then was waste as I had to buy another set

  • E. RiVeRa
    E. RiVeRa 8 hours ago

    8:42 would it be better to use a riding mower ? ..human stupidity as its best....................

  • Pholoso Phejana
    Pholoso Phejana 10 hours ago

    How can we be rich with resources and yet poor ?this world is evil

  • Ahmad Noor Haqimi
    Ahmad Noor Haqimi 12 hours ago

    Continental tyre is good

  • Justin Toh
    Justin Toh 13 hours ago +1

    That is how my country Malaysia faces many haze all because they burn down forest just to plant fucking rubber trees and risk millions of residents health for there own benefit?
    So disappointed,,,,

  • Deadsh07
    Deadsh07 14 hours ago

    250$ a month? IT workers in India earn the same after graduating college

  • Shriram Ashokan
    Shriram Ashokan 14 hours ago

    Why is the translator speaking with German accent 🤣🤣🤣

  • Garázs Géza
    Garázs Géza 19 hours ago

    My father bought always retread tyres in Hungary in 70jears ,in Sosialismus was mostly the only choice for getting new tyres for your car. One Car of Two ran on Rethread tyres at this times .

  • Random Youtube Comment
    Random Youtube Comment 19 hours ago

    Behold a real Land Cruiser that can back it up Not a minivan on a stilt, the new Land Cruiser that is.

  • barry phillips
    barry phillips 19 hours ago

    The BIG problem with used tires is what happens to them at the end of their life, billions of used tires stacked awaiting what next for them.
    Pretty SHIT living and working conditions, plus POOR pay!

  • WriteCodeEveryday
    WriteCodeEveryday 20 hours ago

    10:28 During a sneak mission, the theme for 24 can be heard...!

  • Robyn Edwards
    Robyn Edwards 22 hours ago

    Oh really. This video has made me angry. Your solution is to use retreaded tyres so 80% less natural rubber is required. That is going to increase the pay of the workers, how?
    You base the living standards of rural Thai and Cambodian workers on your bloated 1st world standards and cost of living but don't consider that Thailand does not have social security. You work or if you don't have children to support you, you die.
    I bet you feel smug sitting in your BMW pontificating how poor rubber plantation workers get paid less than what you pay just to put fossil fuel into your wanker mobile per month. How privileged are you.
    Stay out of South East Asia you stuck up German A-hole…...
    Oh and before you ask, my partner and I support 3 people in Thailand, family members of my Partner.

  • MrCarGuy20
    MrCarGuy20 Day ago +1

    Retreads do *NOT* match the specifications of new tires: Especially those of performance tires (tires that are actually safe). Modern car tires are also much more efficient with usage of natural rubber! Contents are low! Absolute agenda-driven bullshit.

  • Russell McAfee
    Russell McAfee Day ago +1

    Flawed documentary at it's finest

  • James T
    James T Day ago

    please sell me your car for cheap

  • Rafi khandokar
    Rafi khandokar Day ago

    Farmers work hard but there annual income so less. I think it's very disappointed.

  • thisnametooktolong

    The entire reagan of south east Asia fought like hell for communism... I don't give a shit. There is a ton of chemistry processing, and other "materials" that goes into tires. By weight of the rubber in a tire, (not the steel, or cords) a tire is only 28% latex. one of the biggest ingredients is energy to make the steel, and the rubber... and casting
    Screw those communist jerk offs. If they dont like it... Fix the government

  • Babe Root
    Babe Root Day ago

    Whether one believes in a Creator or not, in the Bible or not, I am sure many will still agree, this scripture is valid, "The love of money, is the root of all evil". Because I do believe in a Creator, I believe these greedy corporations, will one day...have to answer to Christ for their greed, and the pathetic conditions in which they cause, their laborers to live. Their greed does not go unnoticed by the Creator. Truth is...greedy people, are simply, not afraid of their Creator. It does not go unnoticed, as they may seem to think.

  • Robert S.
    Robert S. Day ago

    This problem is wide spread though out various agribusiness commodities, not just the rubber producers. Agribusiness brokers greatly influence the business. The dairy business in California is known to be a little like this.

  • dacealksne
    dacealksne Day ago +2

    Why are you stealing footage?

  • Gadolini Rutherfordium

    Cmon guys! We need to be sustainable It’s not like rubber grows on trees!

  • Jack Black
    Jack Black Day ago +1

    Forget those "all fashion, no function" low profiles with their venerable side walls.

  • humphrey peek
    humphrey peek Day ago

    I remember 18 years ago meeting a EU official who was persuading Thai farmers to grow rubber trees withEU grants

  • Jason Jian
    Jason Jian Day ago

    It is an one sided and collective perspective film. The film have made a conclusion by judging that the workers are living poorly and in bad condition simply because they are working in the rubber industry. In fact, living condition are all the while at such in these part of outskirt of developing country. We must understand that the villagers simply see this as work opportunity. Without this work opportunity, they might be living in worse environment. Besides, different country have different social and governance problems. When you collectively merging Cambodia and Thailand issues and come to a conclusion is just not right. In South East Asia, rubber harvesting have been traditionally harvest to avoid machinery pollution. Yes, i do agree that pesticide regulations and safety concerns should be emphasise more. However, not condemning the whole industry by just filming fraction of the whole story. I also agree that big international companies should allocate more budget to improve the farmers education and living quality.

  • Günther Höllein

    The corporations fraud is in the language of there so called contracts.

  • Reno Simpson
    Reno Simpson Day ago

    BS ! Tires, small ones are mostly if not all synthetic. 2. retreads, if you have ever been anywhere you have seen retreads laying on the side of the road. I'm not advocating for new tires but it's obvious this video is 'bias' (pun) or just plane morons that didn't do basic research. Corruption is everywhere, let's start at the largest the bankers, gov. etc.

  • Will Foster
    Will Foster Day ago

    Why cant tires get recycled into new tires? Why do they recycle them by burning them?

  • Ben
    Ben Day ago +1

    Passenger cars use petroleum-based rubber, shill.

  • al bud
    al bud Day ago

    What are shame and a skam it is the indigenous people busting their ass to make the elite happy..

  • angus L.
    angus L. Day ago +1

    Amazing short Doc.

  • L J
    L J Day ago

    Slavery all over again. They need a lower class in order to create a rich. In order words the cheaper the labor the higher profits

  • Douglas Thompson

    Horrific at much money made from slaves. Tires have been a rip off for decades.

  • giggity
    giggity Day ago

    reason why the police dont use retread tires corruption/business as there tire supplier would put in the contract for new tires only as they make more money from new then retread it that simple. as anything to do with public money is always to buy top price as someone is getting a back hander from someone to do it.

  • Outdoors Bushman
    Outdoors Bushman 2 days ago

    so the industry is built on slave labor ? I can this coming when SHTF happens via collapse of the fiat money system, only group that profits are the multi- nationals, disgusting , immoral on so many levels, how about the climate change nuts and SJWs all campaigne for the workers on the ground ? health and safety ? work conditions ?, don't see that happening, pathetic.

  • E S
    E S 2 days ago

    I read the SF bay is polluted with micro black rubber from tires washing down in the rain. Probably not the only place polluted with tire rubber

  • Geo R
    Geo R 2 days ago

    It would have been useful to suggest the better made retread brands. I've had several poor experiences in the past. Bandags have been particularly bad to balance indicating poor distribution of retread material. I've also had them delaminate.
    Suggestions could have made a great contribution. Thanks for the excellent documentary.

  • Gewgulkan Suhckitt
    Gewgulkan Suhckitt 2 days ago

    I didn't realize modern tires still used natural latex as an ingredient. I thought their rubber parts were 100% synthetic.

  • Brenda Lambert
    Brenda Lambert 2 days ago

    I fear this is the future for much of humanity and the planet in general with exploitation by rich multinational corporations. In the long run everybody loses, but they don't care as long as they are living large in the short term.

  • the alpha traveller
    the alpha traveller 2 days ago +3

    The main culprits are the greedy and corrupt governments of the third world and developing countries!

  • byte exa
    byte exa 2 days ago +2

    Filming with a "hidden camera" is're doing espionage work here

    • byte exa
      byte exa Day ago

      @Paul Kang'd you feel if someone were to videotape your bedroom without your permission.....all in the name of journalism?

    • Paul Kang
      Paul Kang Day ago

      Espionage: the practice of spying or of using spies, typically by governments to obtain political and military information.
      I don't see neither political nor military info here. All I see is journalism. That's an insult to Assange.

  • Justus Potgieter
    Justus Potgieter 2 days ago

    Thank you for this insightfull report which shows how the poor are extorted in this notorious industry. To add insult to injury, the price of tyres are a complete ripp off. It appears that here is only ONE winner...the tyre companies... who refuse to do interviews... why? .... ;-)

  • Hasan Shah
    Hasan Shah 2 days ago +1

    if tires made in USA or Europe then no problem, because it is made in Asia this is dirty business. but Americans and European don't want to see full food in belly to Asians people so this is dirty business. My friend i tell you what is dirty business, weapon selling is dirty business, monopoly of USA and Europe, they selling to dictators, warlords, killers but sorry sorry weapon is not dirty but making tires is dirty.

  • Janarth Ramakrishna
    Janarth Ramakrishna 2 days ago

    I can't do much but I will buy retread tyres from now on

  • CCW1911
    CCW1911 2 days ago

    Can't see the problem of retread tires? Just drive down any interstate in the US and you'll find huge junks of retread tires that have come slinging off trucks while they are driving sometimes causing damage and accidents, there is a good reason they aren't allowed on the steering axle of big trucks.

  • Mos Kito
    Mos Kito 2 days ago

    I was wondering how you took the DRONE FOOTAGE of the Rubber Factory.
    I dont belive you had a permission for this and DRONES are forbidden to fly in THailand since 2 years without permission by the Authorities!

  • Mos Kito
    Mos Kito 2 days ago +1

    ohhh and btw, its NOT Vinegar, its hydrochloric Acid and stinks like shit :)
    and pretty EVERYTHING in Thailand is owned by Chinese, its the same all over Asia because the Chinese People are hard working and doing business since 3000 years when Europeans lived on Trees ;)

  • Mos Kito
    Mos Kito 2 days ago

    Sometimes this Docus are just GARBAGE... as tradition has it he has no rights to negotiate ROFL... Vollspacken, lernt mal Thai or take someone who translates it properly. The Rubber price is FIXED and told by the MARKETPRICE what is there to negotiate? The Lady taking the rubber and for this service bringing it to the factory or a bigger place where it is collected, she is charging some money.
    FACT is Thais are NO.1 in copying stuff and their neighbors. They see neighbor is making money with something, and open the same business next to him, doesnt matter if a restaurant or a Rubber Plantation... AND if someone has some common sence and understanding the BASICS or markets, he will know ... LESS STUFF=MORE MONEY .... LOTS OFF STUFF=LESS MONEY ... at least all the Rubber forests making North Thailand much greener, in South here they are growing Oilpalms instead of Rubber now and soon DURIAN will overfloat the market.
    Rubberprices dropped from 108.-Baht/kg to 19.-Baht/kg atm

  • Mike n
    Mike n 2 days ago

    Douchebag multi national conglomerates who have no care for the people who make their billions possible. How can that be? Who knew?
    Every single global business out there, all 99% of em, only care about 1 thing, their bottom line. Blood is the grease that fuels their growth.

  • HaloHamstur
    HaloHamstur 2 days ago +11

    The farmers need to get together and decide the price of their rubber. They shouldn't let someone tell them the price of their own product.

    • thisnametooktolong
      thisnametooktolong 11 hours ago

      @Noisydad Well said comrade.

    • Noisydad
      Noisydad 13 hours ago

      Absolutely NO WHERE in the world do farmers decide the price of their produce and labour no matter what they grow or harvest. Farmers are ALWAYS to bottom of the food chain.

    • Heather stubbs
      Heather stubbs Day ago

      You and I know this is impossible, because international laws prevent this. The farmers are always the losers, and until international laws are created to protect them, nothing's going to change. It really sucks. This is why more and more artificial rubber is being produced. The question is, what's more economical for everyone? The farmers really do get a bad wrap, and in the end, things just keep getting cheaper. The oil industry really does control things, and unless we can find an alternative to oil, the farmers are at the bottom of the barrel.

    • thisnametooktolong
      thisnametooktolong Day ago +2

      They are communist. They made thier choice in the 60s, and early 70s

    • blackdaan
      blackdaan 2 days ago +4

      rubber diamonds gems coffee cacao etc etc etc all the same

  • Evad Sel
    Evad Sel 2 days ago

    Why don’t you justice warriors start a rubber plantation, pay your workers 3X the going rate, then when you go broke, learn how business really works (as your employees no longer have a job).

  • Allan Byrne
    Allan Byrne 2 days ago

    This is bullshit I live in Thailand and this is how people live, this is not the west, it is normal life. Are will really that much happier in the west chasing the dollar? There is always food, just not that much at times and these are migrant workers, better off than at home.
    A few die from their work conditions, in the west many more die from the shit we eat made by the multinationals..

  • Vildhund
    Vildhund 2 days ago

    You ever consider the reason nobody allows you to film is because you're a nobody? The first assumption anyone makes when someone asks to see "how the sausage is made" is to answer with indifference or suspicion; either you have no clout, or they suspect you of putting up a facade to acquire trade secrets. You're a bunch of idiots for implying they don't want you to see the squalid condition of workers because the employers are afraid. Idiots.

  • CA BO
    CA BO 2 days ago


  • Junior Boom
    Junior Boom 2 days ago

    Thailand seems like a nice place.

    • michaljc1
      michaljc1 Hour ago +1

      Its not its corrupt, dirty and rife with scams

  • trifecta t
    trifecta t 2 days ago +4

    Documentaries like these to FAR more to regulate corporations and their bad practices then government ever will, and at a fraction of the cost while providing entertainment at the same time!