Cycling Accessories

How to Recycle Bicycle Parts: Tires, Tubes, Chains and More…

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Whether your bicycle is no longer needed or you’re replacing a part, the good news is that various bicycle parts need not go to landfill.

Of course, if you’ve got an old bike that you no longer use but still works, there are no shortage of charities that will help you donate it to a good cause.

But if your bike is no longer functioning in its entirety, there are still plenty of options other than sending it to a landfill.

Keep reading to learn which items can be recycled and/or repurposed and how to do so.


How to recycle:

Which Bike Parts Can Be Recycled?

Believe it or not, it is very easy to donate or recycle entire bicycles, depending on their condition. However, if you need to get rid of just a part, then recyclable parts include inner tubing, tires, helmets, tires, and the frame of your bicycle.

1. Can Bicycle Tires be Recycled? 

If you regularly tear up the tarmac, your tires can quickly become worn. Fortunately, tires are incredibly easy to recycle if this happens. 

Even if they’re past their time and can’t be reused, bicycle tires are made of hard-wearing rubber and can easily be recycled into something new. 

How to Recycle Bike Tires

If you don’t feel creative enough to repurpose your bicycle tires yourself (they would make a good belt!), we recommend taking them to your local Velorim center.

For a small contribution, Velorim can incinerate tires and separate them into constituent materials. The rubber, steel, and fiber produced will be sent to various destinations. Your tires (and inner tubes, too!) can live on as flooring, construction materials, and insulation.

2. Can Bike Tubes Be Recycled? 

It’s very easy to dismiss your inner tubing as something that should be binned, especially considering they’re the part that you probably replace the most. However, this does not need to be the case, as they can be recycled!

How to Recycle Bike Tubes 

One of the best ways to recycle your bike tubes is by sending them to Cycle of Good.

The charity is based in Stoke-on-Trent (where you will ship your tubes) and comprises 10 Malawian tailors. The creative crew turns your tubes into fashionable wallets and purses before they are shipped back to the UK to be sold internationally. Every penny that Cycle of Good raises from these efforts goes back into the development of the Malawian community.

3. Can Bike Frames Be Recycled?

Bicycle frames are often made from various materials, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium. Once broken down, these can be sold at scrap yards and thus repurposed into other items.

Once accepted by a scrap yard, the frames are broken down, and their materials are separated by type. They are then sold and thus further processed. 

How to Recycle Bicycle Frames

Most places do not pay much for scrap frames, and trying to sell them can often be a hassle. However, there is a range of services that will gladly do this for you rather than sending your once beloved frame to landfill.

Services like junk removal companies, such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, can easily do this for you. However, there may be providers of this service much more local to you that you would like to support.

4. Can Bike Chains Be Recycled?

Unless you know of a local bicycle company that will take your chain off your hands, bike chains are one of the trickier components to recycle. If your bike chain is worn and rusted, the first thing we recommend is to try to clean it. 

If you wish to dry and clean or oil your chain first – either to reuse it or to make it easier to sell and/or recycle – we recommend our handy guide here.

How to Recycle Bike Chains

The most popular fate for bicycle chains is to be repurposed for arts and crafts projects or donated to someone who will. Alternatively, some local bicycle shops will take them off your hands in an attempt to recycle them.

If you, or someone you know, need some inspiration on how to repurpose bicycle chains, we recommend this handy crafts guide for some ideas. This includes photo frames, candle holders and coasters! Alas, there is no need for your chains to go to landfill.

OSRAME Ornament Creative Jewelry Home Decoration Resin Craftsfairtrade Bicycle Bookends Made From Recycled Bike Chains
  • Cute and cute, fun and humorous, beautiful and practical
  • These versatile accessories can be placed almost anywhere. They look great decoration, suitable for interior decoration: restaurants, cabinets, bars, kitchens, etc.
  • Eye-catching, full-featured, beautiful and practical, improve life

5. Other Recyclable Bicycle Parts

Almost all components of a bike can be recycled. Whether they are repurposed or broken down into component materials, all of your gear, including brake pads and helmets, can be recycled. 

In order to keep cycling as one of the greenest and most efficient forms of travel, we would argue it is important not only to try and prevent your bicycle from wear and tear but when it inevitably happens, to prevent these items from going to landfill.

If you use an electric bike, do not worry! There is a way to recycle your bicycle’s batteries too. To find out more, visit our FAQ here, or Recycle More’s battery information page here.

6. Can Bicycle Helmets Be Recycled

Bicycle helmets are often made of mixed materials, specifically mixed plastics, which makes them a nightmare to responsibly recycle. When helmets are old, bashed, or broken, it is not ideal to try to fix and reuse them either. However, they can be repurposed.

How to Recycle Bike Helmets 

Rather than wasting your old helmet or sending it to a landfill where its plastics can damage the environment, we recommend repurposing it. Whether donating to your local emergency services or turning the helmet into a planter, there are many ways to do this.

If your helmet is still in okay condition, but you don’t require it anymore, a Google search can tell you if any services local to you are either 1) accepting helmet donations or 2) looking for helmets for training exercises. If your helmet is older than 3 years, we recommend not donating it to charity, as it must be safe enough for others to use.

Old helmets can also be easily turned into beautiful planters for your garden. Lay down some stones and then some soil, and then you can plant away. This is a nice way to add a small cycling touch to your garden. 

With that in mind, if you require a new helmet, take a peek at smart helmets that do more than just keep you safe.

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