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

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 your bike to a good course.

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

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

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How to recycle:

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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 it is just a part that you need rid of, then recyclable parts include inner tubing, tyres, helmets, tyres and the frame of your bicycle.

Can Bicycle Tyres be Recycled? 

If you are regularly ripping up tarmac, then your tyres can become worn very quickly. Alas, tyres are incredibly easy to recycle if this happens. 

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

How to Recycle Bike Tyres

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

For a small contribution, tyres can be incinerated and separated into constituent materials by Velorim. The rubber, steel and fibre that is produced will be sent to various destinations. Your tyres (and inner tubes too!) can live on as flooring, construction materials and insulation.

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 over to Cycle of Good.

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

Can Bike Frames Be Recycled?

Bicycle frames are often made from a variety of materials. This includes aluminum, carbon fibre and titanium. Once broken down, this 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. These 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 are a range of services who will gladly do this for you – rather than your once beloved frame being sent to landfill.

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

Can Bike Chains Be Recycled?

Unless you know of a local bicycle company who will take your chain off your hands, these are one of the trickier components to recycle. If your bike chain is worn and rusted, the first thing we would recommend is to try and 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 repurpose them with arts and crafts projects, or to donate them to someone who will. Alternatively, some local bicycle shops will take these off your hands in an attempt to recycle them.

If you, or someone you know, needs 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

Other Recycleable Bicycle Parts

Almost all components of a bike can be recycled. Whether they are repurposed or broke 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 most green 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 are the user of 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.

Can Bicycle Helmets Be Recycled

Bicycle helmets are often made of mixed materials; more specifically, mixed plastics. This often 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 landfill where its plastics can damage the environment, we recommend repurposing them. Whether this is donating to your local emergency services or by turning the helmet into a planter, there is a plethora of ways to do this.

If your helmet is still in okay condition, but you simply 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) on the lookout for helmets to be used in training exercises. If your helmet is older than 3 years, we recommend not donating it to charity, as they need to be safe enough for others to use.

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

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

Kelsey Raynor

Kelsey Raynor

Kelsey is a digital marketer, writer and content creator based in Manchester, England. With a particular passion for sports journalism, she is dedicated to encouraging more women to write about sports and athletics. See Kelsey's portfolio here.

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