We all know that cycling is good for the environment, but we still end up with old, worn-out cycling gear that is destined for the dumpster. We’ve discovered 6 ways to recycle your old cycling gear – and change it from trash to treasure.
1. Recycling tubes or tires
Tires and tubes are the one part on the bike that you can go through at a rapid rate. Since they are rubber based, recycling is a great option. At every Performance Bicycle location, we have a blue recycling bin where we accept tires and tubes for recycling. We share all of that rubber with Liberty Tire and they use it to make everything from Olympic weights to playground mulch. All you have to do is drop off your used tubes or worn out tires and we’ll do the rest.
If you don’t live near a Performance location, check with your local auto tire shop. They will often send piles of auto tires in to places like Liberty Tire and may take your bicycle tires and tubes for free. Be considerate though as they often have to pay to have their tires recycled, so asking them to do something for free that they have to pay for is asking them for a real favor.
One more option would be to box up and mail your tires/tubes to someone like Alchemy Goods. Alchemy recycles tires and tubes, turning them into everything from messenger bags and saddle bags to wallets and belts.
2. Passing on the love
The number one way this sport grows is through the generosity of others. We were all new to the sport at one point. Someone showed us how to use clipless pedals, when to signal, how to take over a lane to make a left turn, how to ride in a pace-line, or how to jump over a log. The best thing you can do for the sport of cycling is to take someone under your wing. For example, if you just bought pedals, why not your old pair on to someone who might get into the sport because of your generosity? So, be a cycling advocate and lend a hand to someone in need.
3. Making art
This one’s not for everyone. Some people just don’t have an eye for it. Still, if you’re artistically minded and have used bike parts lying around, why not combine your passion for cycling with your talent for art? We’ve seen some great examples of Christmas ornaments made out of bicycle chains, picture frames made from old bike parts, bracelets make from old spokes, or wind chimes made out of used chainrings. You don’t have to be a top etsy seller to make your mom a special hand-made birthday gift. Just think of the money you save and can justify putting towards new cycling parts!
4. Building bikes for those in need
Most large communities have bicycle co-ops. A bicycle co-op is an organization that recycles old bicycle parts and uses volunteer labor to build bicycles for people in need, often children. Many times they will have a program in place whereby a person in need can volunteer their time and earn themselves a bicycle. Volunteering for a program like this will give you another opportunity to give back to the cycling community and will also present many chances for donating some of your used bike parts. What seems like a worn out crankset to you, could be the missing piece necessary to helping someone without means to build a bike that they can use to get to work.
These organizations are everywhere. Ask your local shop if you can’t find one. Maybe your community needs one and you can start one yourself!
5. Metal Recycling
The one other part on your bicycle that you should be replacing with some regularity is your chain. At your nearest Performance Bicycle location, we also accept worn out chains, which we ship to Resource Revival. Resource Revival uses the chains to make all sorts of creative products from bottle openers to award medals. Even if you’re not near a Performance retail location, you can still utilize Resource Revival by collecting and mailing chains yourself or helping your local shop collect them. Instructions can be found on the Resource Revival website.
If this isn’t a feasible opportunity or if you have more metal than you know what to do with, you might try searching for a local metal recycler. They will often have someone who will pick up piles of old metal from you (frames, wheelsets, etc.) and will haul them off for free.
6. Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade
Our good friends at Clif Bar have partnered with Terracycle to provide an amazing opportunity to recycle used energy bar wrappers. Depending on your rate of consumption, it may take a while before you have enough wrappers saved up, but what about setting up a box in your office? How about bringing a box out to the local group ride and encouraging your friends to save their wrappers for your recycling project. Recycling wrappers can earn you prizes or further charitable causes through Terracycle. Check out the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade website for more info.
Do you have any other great recycling ideas? Did we miss any of the big ones? Have creative art projects? Share them in the comments section below and let the recycling begin!