Recycling / sustainable bike bits

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  • Been going through my spares / old parts box and mildly shocked at the amount of material that’s probably never going to get used again, as much as I try and sell bits on and bike jumble them. Case in point, a weighty old SR Suntour fork from my first MTB, which now just lives in my garage.

    Are there any good services for ‘end of life’ bike parts? Where’s the best place to recycle chains, bottom brackets and other consumables full of metal that’s been mined and shipped from somewhere? Where can I send old tyres where they won’t end up o fire?

    I’ve also started following Shift Cycling Culture, an organisation aiming to inject more sustainability into the industry. Worth a follow.

    I know consuming bikes and chopping and changing parts in search of the do it all bike that can never exist is actually more fun than riding a bike, and it’s obviously already the greenest form of transport, but I reckon we can do even better.

    So main point - where do I send my rusty old shit?


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  • Nice question.

    Although bikes are a very green mode of transport the increasing built in obsolescence of products within the industry is quite disheartening.

    At the most basic level stuff from a bike could be taken to a scrap metal merchant, then there are cycling charities that take any old bits to try and get old knackered bikes rideable again.
    Better Health Bikes in Haggerston is one and I think there is another similar set up somewhere else in Hackney.

  • I’ve started a box of steel bits to recycle that my kids test with a magnet for me- sometimes means disassembling old components that are no use. The scrap guy outside our local tip will take a full box.

    I know aluminium can be recycled but does that extend to bike parts?

    Does anyone remember the Isla bike scheme where you leased a kids bike and swapped for next size, sending the old bike back for refurb? That seemed sensible but not sure it’s still a thing

  • Lease bikes sound like a good idea — especially for higher end / more complicated MTB’s, cargo bikes etc

  • Also to note that any bamboo bikes are banned from this thread

  • i wonder about this issue as well. i keep things like cracked cranks to scrap eventually. not sure about chains, but it does seem a shame to bin so much metal.

  • If you can get it to the tip and put it in the scrap metal bin, it’ll almost certainly get recycled in bulk. It’s usually coarsely sorted with an electromagnet to pull out the big bits of steel, then the rest is shredded. Aluminium comes out using a magnetic field. Not sure about separating the other metals like brass and copper but it is done because of the high value.

    Re-use is best. Tried selling it as a cheap job lot on eBay, Gumtree or put it on freecycle?

  • Don't you have any "recycling parks" in the UK? Here in Flanders each and every city has several of these points where you can leave all the stuff you can't put in your bin.


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  • The one near me is staffed by quite an amusing bunch who spend their time telling people most of what they've brought can't be recycled there.

  • West Norwood?

  • how did you guess? 😃

  • I wonder about the front end of stuff too, i.e. how it's made. I try to buy stuff made in places I assume have good labour practices like Germany and Japan (Ergon/Nitto particularly seem to be on the ball) but for a "green" industry most manufacturers are pretty opaque about the supply chain of their bikes/parts and the conditions of the people who make them.

  • I collected loads of steel together, off cuts of tubing, old parts etc planning to take it to a scrap dealer.

    I had a few Ikea blue bags crammed with stuff which I then discovered was worth around 20p and fuck knows where there’s a scrappy that would actually take it. So it went to metal recycling at the dump.

  • How about saddles? Got 4-5 old takeoffs, mix of materials. Where do I send them?

  • Islabikes, of all people, have been giving this side of things a good go - circular economy etc: https://www.islabikes.co.uk/imagine-proj­ect/imagine-project-the-story-so-far/

  • Different end of the spectrum perhaps, but shoes made from recycled ocean plastic?

    https://bikepacking.com/news/five-ten-fr­eerider-primeblue-recycled-ocean-plastic­/

  • Has anybody used Velorim?

    https://velorim.co.uk/

    "The Scheme: The process could not be simpler.

    Check out where your local Velorim Centre is using the button on the left. Take the waste bicycle tyres or inner tubes you want to have recycled and simply hand them over the counter.

    Most centres are charging a recycling levy for the ecological disposal of tyres and inner tubes, typically 50p per tyre and 20p per tube.

    Velorim, making cycling green"

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Recycling / sustainable bike bits

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