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All About Bike Recycling

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
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Using a bicycle is an environmentally friendly way to get around in itself and cycling is the transport choice of many eco-conscious people. Green cycling enthusiasts can continue to protect the environment when they need to get rid of their bikes.

If you are a cyclist and you need to dispose of your bike, either because you upgrade to a new one or because the one you have is no longer roadworthy, it’s easy to do so in an environmentally responsible way.

Bike recycling is now a common practice and term. However, the word ‘recycling’ doesn’t tell the whole story - bikes and their parts can be reused, recycled and repaired so that they don’t get sent to landfill.

Bike Recycling Centres

If you contact your local authority or do a quick search online you’ll will be able to find out where your nearest bike recycling centre is. These organisations collect bikes in all conditions and ensure that they are dealt with in a way which results in little to no waste.

  • Bikes which are in reasonable condition can be repaired and renovated to be sold on.
  • Other bikes which are repairable are often sent onto charities, to be given to those who can’t afford their own bike. Bikes are also donated to projects in Africa. The bikes are used there by doctors and aid workers so that they can reach otherwise inaccessible villages.
  • If cycles can’t be renovated or fixed they still don’t have to be sent to landfill. They can be dismantled for parts which can be used and other parts which can be recycled.

Sometimes bike recycling centres will collect unwanted bikes or cyclists may be required to drop the bicycles off themselves. Some recycling centres pay a small fee for donated bikes.

Buying a Recycled or Secondhand Bike

Another way to reduce bicycle waste is to buy used or recycled bikes when you do want to purchase a new bike. Buying a secondhand or recycled bike is generally much cheaper as well as being greener than buying a new one. However, there are important issues of safety and legality to bear in mind.

Buying a secondhand bike from a bike recycling or refurbishing business usually means that it has undergone road safety testing, meaning the brakes,tyres and other potential safety hazards have been checked. Obviously safety information will need to be checked on a dealer-by-dealer basis. Many bike recycling centres now provide certificates which prove that any cycles they sell have not been stolen. The frame numbers of the bikes are checked with police bicycle theft records to prove this.

Refurbished bikes also often come with a warranty, which guarantees the bike for a certain amount of time and includes any service charges in that period.

You can also buy secondhand bikes from markets, the newspaper and online.

The Benefits of Bike Recycling

If all that hasn’t been enough to persuade here are some more benefits of bike recycling:

  • Reusing and recycling bikes and their parts uses far less energy than building a new bike from scratch.
  • Bike recycling projects provide training, employment and skills for people in the local community.
  • Recycled bikes are a more affordable option for people than brand new cycles.
  • Bike recycling promotes cycling as hobby, as good exercise and as a green method of transport.

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