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Shop Recycling

From Bike Collectives Wiki
(Redirected from Shop recycling)

Generally speaking recycling is one of the key voluntary or involuntary goals of collectives and cooperatives -- as the re-use keeps bikes out of land fills.


Most metal found on a donated bike is going to be steel or aluminum. While you can use your eyes to tell the difference, a magnet makes no mistakes.

  • Steel - This isn't always worth your time or storage, so take advantage of people that collect metal and recycle it for a living.
  • Aluminum - This can be worth your time, consider bringing it to your local metal recycling facility.


  • Tires: While it is usually free to recycle tires, it will cost volunteer/staff time and transporation to do it.
  1. Look in the phonebook under tire recycling.
  2. Ask your local car tire shop where they take their used tires -- by law they have to recycle them.
  3. Bring them to your local shred yard.
  4. Cut and the stapled to things, they make great non-skid pads (esp tires w/o a wire bead)
  5. Provide pieces as emergency "boots" if a tire has a major failure out on the road. Boots explained by sheldon brown
  6. Supple ones might work well as a belt or strap.
  • Tubes: Have a few uses:
  1. Volunteer busy-work patching tubes.
  2. When sliced into sections they make industrial rubber-bands. Which are good for folding newly patched tubes.
  3. Attach and tie things down.
  4. Recycle at shred yards.
  5. Cut them in half long-ways and use for wrapping handlebars.
  6. Bring a chair back to life.
  7. Send them to Splaff, Inc., Alchemy Goods or Green Guru Gear to turn into products.
  8. With small tubes, protect pedal strap sections against the pedal from long term abrasion.
  9. Give them away to be used for closing gaps in home doors/windows.
  10. Put on a bike fashion show and see who can make the most impressive dress from old tubes.

Chains and Freewheels

Resource Revival actually has a program set up where you can ship them your used chains and freewheels at no cost to you. They in recycle your junk into art and sell it.

Shop Rags

Most collectives and cooperatives use them until they are so dirty they can't even be used to clean a chain.

How do you clean a rag? It really depends on your area's environmental issues. You have to pick your poison.

If water pollution is the biggest concern, do not clean them or use a service that cleans them. If air pollution is the biggest concern, do not burn them or use a service that burns them. If soil pollution is the biggest concern, do not throw them away.

LANDFILLL (priorities: water, air) At which point you should bring them to your local hazardous waste facility just like old paint, oil, gasoline, etc. The thought behind it is that the energy and detergent used by washing rags is worse than putting some reused cloth and possibly biodegradable grease into a landfill.

LAUNDRY SERVICE: (Priorities: air, soil) There are "rag services" that automotive shops use, where they collect the dirty ones, the service comes by and picks them up and drops off clean ones. This can cost $40-50/month. To drop costs, consider doing rag share with another dirty rag generating business.

BURN (priorities: water, soil) hey, rags are pretty flammable. burning isn't considered an acceptable way of disposing of trash in most of the places this editor has lived, though.

SUPER ECO OPTION: (Priorities: water, air, soil)

Build a rag washer: It starts with a hose from tap to roof, to the bottom of a solar batch water heater, made from an old water heater tank painted black and built into a triangular box with two sides and both ends insulated and reflective and the third side glass. From the top of the water heater an insulated hose runs to an old front loading clothes washer with the motor removed. It is driven by a stationary bike with a belt around the tireless wheel. The washer sits on a pallet over an old bathtub, into which it drains. The tub has been filled with sand topped with wood chips innoculated with oyster mushrooms (pleurotus), which will clean pollutants out of the water. Rather than growing Pleurotus in the filtration container it might work better to run the effluent through a Stropharia filter cartridge. A drip line runs from the drain hole to the nearby fruit and nut trees. That's the untested dream...

WARNING: You don't want the fire hazard of a pile of oily rags sitting around.

Used Part Cleaner Liquids

No matter how biodegradeable the liquid you wash your parts is, when you mix it with a petroleum based product like grease -- it becomes a hazardous material. As a result, used parts cleaner liquids must be treated as a hazardous material and brought to your local recycling facility.


See Also