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TYRE-LOSS: Lost at Sea - where are all the tyre particles?

Lots of tyres in a pile waiting to be recycled

Completed project

Project start: February 2021  |  Project end: February 2024
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Professor Pennie Lindeque
Other participants from PML: Dr James Clark, Dr Matthew Cole, Dr Ricardo Torres

Tyre particles are increasingly recognised as a potentially major source of microplastic pollution, yet limited data exists on their accumulation and risks in the marine environments. The TYRE-LOSS project is tackling this critical knowledge gap.

By quantifying tyre particle concentrations in the environment and examining their biological impacts on marine life, TYRE-LOSS will generate the first empirical evidence on the risks posed by tyre wear particles. This addresses a major source of uncertainty in microplastic pollution research.

The project, led by the University of Plymouth in collaboration with PML and partners, will have wide-ranging academic impacts. It will advance understanding of tyre particle fate, transport pathways, and ecotoxicological effects across the fields of microplastics, materials science, and ecotoxicology.

TYRE-LOSS also enables evidence-based decision making by policymakers seeking to curb microplastic pollution. Findings will directly inform legislative efforts around vehicle manufacturing, air and water quality, and plastic waste management. Additionally, the automotive industry will gain insights to evaluate and reduce tyre particle emissions through sustainable design and manufacturing.


Through publications, events, media engagement and an advisory committee, TYRE-LOSS connects its research outcomes to diverse stakeholders across government, industry, NGOs and the public. By widely disseminating its results, TYRE-LOSS will accelerate solutions to address the growing threat of microplastic pollution.