Trek and REI have partnered with Alchemy Goods to form a nationwide bike tube recycling network with the goal of collecting 1 million bike tubes by the end of 2014.
This network includes more than 600 Trek bicycle dealers and 1,800 retailers — REI stores and independent bike shops — and is represented in nearly every state, the companies say. To-date, Alchemy Goods has collected more than 400,000 bicycle inner tubes, diverting them from the landfill. The company manufacturers bags and accessories from reclaimed materials, including used bike tubes, seat belts and advertising banners.
According to the partners, more than 13 million bikes were purchased last year and from those purchased, 26 million bike tubes will end up in the landfill within two years. Rubber can take anywhere from decades to hundreds of years to decompose, the companies say.
Alchemy Goods aims to collect more than 200,000 bike tubes by the end of this year — more than double what was collected in 2012.
Recycling program partners collect used tubes when shop mechanics service bikes or when customers drop them off. The tubes are then delivered to Alchemy Goods’ 5,300-square-foot warehouse and workshop in Seattle, where they are stored and sorted, and handcrafted into finished product.
Alchemy Goods accepts most tubes, including those with patches. The company uses as much of the tube as possible, including the valve stem, which is used for zipper pulls. The products — about 50, including bags, purses, wallets, belts and travel kits — are sold online and in more than 300 boutiques and bike shops in the US.
Trek, REI and Alchemy Goods join a other companies including Coca-Cola and Levi’s making clothing and accessories from recycled materials.
Last fall, Levi’s, MCM, RVCA and Case-Mate joined Ekocycle, an initiative to brand recycled products and encourage sustainability among young consumers. Coca-Cola and musical artist will.i.am partnered to create Ekocycle in August 2012.
The products carrying the Ekocycle brand include a Case-Mate smartphone case molded from 100 percent recycled PET, New Era caps made from recycled fabric, and Levi’s 501 Waste<Less jeans, made with an average of eight recycled assorted plastic bottles per pair. Levi’s says the limited-edition Waste<Less products will utilize more than 3.5 million recycled bottles.