Just send them to the recycling or throw them in the landfill right?
It's the only thing for them surely......Or maybe make some rubber bands if we're being really creative......??
How many of us has come home after a good, long ride out on the hill with punctured tyres, retired innertubes or broken chains, wheels and cranks?
I know I have purposefully staked several brake shafts, and other artifacts into trees on the side of gnarly trails. A sort of tribute to the fact that I lived to ride the trail again with the added belief that next time I'll nail it....
I've also made the trip to the recycling centre several times. Made me feel all warm and lovingly squidgy inside, thinking I'm doing my bit for the environment, by believing I'm giving them a future away from the waste pile.
Here's where it starts to make you think.....Surely there are only so many trees you can add decorations to and only so many trips you can make, before you find youself asking the question? Just how many bits of bike and tube actually get recycled? And how many are produced every year?.....
The answer to those questions, believe me will definitely lead you to where it led me.
Which was 'What can you do with your old bits and pieces once they've seen through their life as part of your bike'.
Seems to me to be very interesting questions but, one that many might be thinking is, "why bother doing anything at all", when both rubber and metal are recyclable materials? If I put them to the recycling centre, then surely that's the best thing for them? They'll get used at some point, yes?
These two questions, I have come to find, are questions with fascinating answers.
It's alarming to discover, that on a yearly average, according to youthxchange facts and figures, every day in the UK alone, over 100,000 worn tyres are taken off cars, vans and trucks, not including the sheer number of bicycle tubes and tyres also given over to landfill or stockpiled. This totals about 40 million tyres (440,000 tonnes) per year – 1/3 of the 121 million (and increasing) in current use.
About 70% of these tyres are diverted from landfill, which sounds great.
About 26% are reused as retreads. 46% are reclaimed for other forms of reuse or recycling; or are incinerated for 'energy recovery', which is a low-grade, undesirable option that cannot be achieved without pollution and contribution to climate change.
The rest (28%) are landfilled or stockpiled, so still represent a major waste problem.
Given these statistics, not including Global statistics, which are even more hair raising than you can imagine, the realisation becomes very clear.
That something forward thinking and innovative is needed to be done with innertubes and other reusable waste generated from cycling. Thus the answer to our second question.....But why would you want to?
Now that we've dealt with the really boring, but awakening and frightening statistics, we can get down to the much more interesting question to answer and that is 'Just what can you do with all those innertubes and broken bits of bike?
What is extremely poignant to the story at this time, was that in parallel to this deliberation, I was desperately trying to get back on my own feet after falling chronically ill, the idea of renewal was at the forefront of my mind in more ways than one. I felt a bit like the old innertubes, stockpiled and forgotten about. It made me realise something, that through these old, and unloved bits that maybe somehow, together, we could get back #on the trail again.
It's because of this and these burning questions, that Otta was born in an attempt to find new ways of reusing these materials so that they don't end up stockpiled, or in a furnace polluting and defeating the purpose of reusing regeneratively or 'recycling'.
Over the next few months, I'm going to be writing many blogs about this subject.
After two years of investigating, learning and growing, I want to share with you the most amazing journey and some of the most inventive, and fabulous ideas for what you can do with your old bike waste.
As Otta has given me new life again, albeit not quite the same person, I'm getting back on the trail too. No longer do I feel spent and on the stock pile left to rot either. It's because of this especially that I want to share this journey with as many people as possible, so I can show that through positivity, a little bit of thought and a whole lot of openmindedness, you too, can save your tubes from stockpile and find new ways to look at the world.
From hand bags, saddle bags, panniers, purses and wallets; Necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches; dresses, shoes, hats and gloves; lampshades, chandeliers, hammocks, tables and chairs.....the list of uses for old bike parts and innertubes is endless.
Rubber bands and make shift bungy cords are just the tip of the iceberg when you really start to think about it.
Not only that, but it seems innertubes are magical even more so in their properties. I will share with you the journey of self healing they've given me and how amazing they are at truly getting you back on the trail again and back on the bike!
My next blog will take you on a journey of discovery, whilst also providing all the tips, tools and techniques used to renew your inner tubes and be super street sassy at the same time. Till then, I wish you well and hope that you too are out on the trail, reaching beyond that which you know, to places that make you grow and renew.
Much love peoples......