A new recycling service for bicycle tyres, tubes, metal and e-waste was launched in Sydney last month, with 10 retailers signed up as its initial customers.
Revolve ReCYCLE started rolling out its collection bins in mid-January and is inviting other Sydney businesses to sign up to its bike shop waste minimisation service.
The service launch comes after Revolve ReCYCLE ran a six-week trial late last year to assess the current level of recycling by bike stores and potential demand for services.
Six businesses participated in the trial – Omafiets, Glow Worm, KBL Bikes, Embassy Cycles, all six Sydney Electric Bikes stores and all 13 outlets for 99 Bikes – which aimed to quantify the levels of waste generated by retailers and how they are dealing with that waste.
Revolve ReCYCLE general manager Guido Verbist said cardboard comprised the large quantity of waster for stores – around 50% of total waste – but it’s already being adequately recycled through existing processes.
“However, there’s nothing in place for metal, electronic components and tyres as a recycling program for bike shops,” Guido said.
“Some retailers used to take them to recycling businesses but as a general rule they throw those materials away into general waste bins.
“As part of the trial, we collected everything for six weeks, the general waste, cardboard, metal, rubber, e-waste and plastics. After those six weeks, we had a very clear picture of the levels generated for all those streams.”
While each store will pay a fee to receive the recycling service – $135 a month for the rubber, metal and e-waste materials – it will save stores money by significantly reducing their general waste disposal costs.
However, Guido said the primary motivation among the initial participants was enhanced sustainability.
“They realise the current situation is not good practice,” he said.
Most of the stores involved in the trial have signed up to the service, which will have bins in around 25 stores by the end of this month.
The service includes a collaboration with tyre recycling specialist TyreCycle, which will receive the tyres and tubes collected by Revolve ReCYCLE and convert them into new products such as rubber crumb used in playground equipment and in road-building materials.
TyreCycle CEO Jim Fairweather said higher-quality material used in bike tyres and tubes meant his company can now more readily use them in its product manufacturing.
Revolve ReCYCLE director Pete Shmigel: “Until now, bicycle tyres and tubes have been challenging to recycle for a number of reasons, including the overall lack of scale and the need to remove metal valves.
“We will meet this challenge by consolidating collection of tyre material across many bike shops and by pre-treating it so that TyreCycle can usefully use it.”
Tyres and tubes comprise around 10% of bike shop waste and it is estimated Sydney’s 100 bikes shops generate up to 50 tonnes of rubber waste per year.
It is further estimated there would be up to 14 million tyres and tubes on unused bicycles in Australia’s garages, verandas, and sheds – equating to 10,000 tonnes of material.
As a result, the collaboration is also offering bike tyre and tube recycling services for individuals.
In addition, the bike shop waste minimisation service will provide a bulk collection service – for an agreed fee – for stores that have stockpiled tyres, tubes, metal and electronic waste.
Guido said the bike shop waste minimisation service was one of three main portfolios in Revolve Recycle’s business plan when the organisation was established in September 2021, with an aim to be Australia’s leader in helping riders, bike shops and other retailers, fleet operators, Councils, importers and others give new life to old rides.
Used Bike Collection
Those portfolios also included a collection of used bikes from individuals and organisations.
“That service has been in place for a year now and we’re moving that to its next stage,” Guido said.
“We’re scaling back our collection of bikes from individual houses and instead we’re setting up drop-off points.”
Revolve Recycle has plans to expand its waste minimisation service to Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong and other centres.
Further information about the service is available by contacting Guido Verbist at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0459 999110.