Cycling boasts tons of environmental benefits, leaving behind a very small carbon footprint.
But there are some things we burn through at an incomparable rate – namely parts and kit.
As 2018 is the year we become more aware of our plastic use and how much waste we produce, perhaps it’s time to address what cyclists throw out.
The good news is that you can divert your bike parts’ path to landfill by recycling, upcycling and donation.
Take a look at these tips for some ideas.
Inner tubes are the bike part that’s replaced the most, and it’s all too easy to chuck them in the bin.
Instead, grab an envelope and stamp and pop them over to Cycle of Good.
The British-based charity enterprise works with 10 Malawian tailors who wash tubes and sew them into stylish wallets, purses and cases. The products are shipped back to the UK to sell internationally and everything raised goes back into the community for childcare and non-profit development in Malawi.
Send your inner tubes along to:
If you have the knowhow, you can craft your own wallets and cases. It’d be best if you had a sewing machine though. Check out this tutorial to see how it’s done.
Tyres can get worn down pretty quickly if you regularly tear up the tarmac.
Rather than toss them onto the rubbish heap like a Frisbee, make something out of them.
Even after they’re past it, tyres are constructed from hard-wearing rubber so they’ll live a second life as something else. I know you’re thinking what we’re thinking: a sturdy belt.
Crashes aren’t the only reason to ditch old helmets. They might have been bashed in transit, a part might have broken, or they might just be frighteningly old.
Emergency units are often on the lookout for helmets as trainees cut them off models in simulation exercises.
Or for something nicer, you can transform your helmet into a planter – I had a go with an old broken helmet. Lay some pebbles down first, fill the helmet with soil then put your seeds or plant in.
There’s only one fate for old bike chains: a spot of arts and crafts.
Think bottle openers, photo frames, candle holders and jewellery.
For some inspiration, check out this cool chain bottle opener tutorial.
The entire bike
This is the easiest one to do.
You will have probably seen bike cycling schemes around where your whole bike will be donated, or it’ll be broken down and the salvageable parts will be recycled.
It’s best if your bike is in half-decent condition, but some schemes will take pretty much any cycle.
Evans runs a scheme where you can trade in a bike and get money off your next set of wheels. Your old bike will be donated to charities including Recycle Your Cycle and Hospice UK. Make sure you place your Trade In order before 5 June 2018.
Halfords works with Re~Cycle,who give donated bikes to people in Africa who rely on them as a means of transport. What’s more, trading in your old bike in will get you money off a new one. It’s not running at the moment, but keep an eye on the Halfords website for updates.
If you’ve got old bike bits which are in decent nick, Re~Cycle accepts parts and accessories like locks and lights.
Just want to get rid of yer steed? You can take it to various bike workshops around London and they’ll take the parts and revive them to be used on other cycles.
I can personally recommend Bikeworks in Bethnal Green which took my mum’s decrepit old bike when I thought it belonged nowhere else but the scrap heap.
Prevention is better than recycling
Or however that saying goes. Basically, if you look after your bike by cleaning it, maintaining it and taking it for regular services, the parts will last longer.
Likewise, cleaning your kit properly will extend its life. Check the labels to make sure you wash it at the correct temperature and save it from unnecessary damage.
It might also be worth forking out a little more for quality kit and parts that won’t wear out as quickly and delay the trip to the landfill.
While you’re on a green kick, perhaps it’s time to switch to a different brand for your cycle stuff; one that has more in the way of eco credentials.
What do you do with your old bikes and kit? Any organisations or schemes that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.