Casual apparel company Timberland is claiming an industry first in launching two new footwear collections which use recycled vehicle tyres in their construction.

The two new collections, launching in autumn 2009 with more than 200,000 pairs on sale, will incorporate recycled tyres in the construction of their outsoles, using technology patented by Green Rubber Inc.

Timberland said that more than 7bn tyres are sitting in landfill worldwide, which it claimed created "one of the largest and relatively unknown environmental issues".

"We are facing an unpublicised epidemic with 1.2bn tyres being disposed in landfills every year, leading to water pollution and breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects," said Datuk Vinod Sekhar, CEO and founder of Green Rubber.

"With Green Rubber's environmentally friendly technology, we can start to make a real dent in the mountains of tyres creating an environmental blight on the planet."

Timberland said it was the first company to commercialise the Green Rubber technology, using a blend of recycled tyre compound and virgin rubber compound to produce an outsole with 42% recycled tyre crumb.