From Green Right Now Reports
Alchemy Goods, which makes upcycled bags, has joined with Trek and REI to form a new bike tube recycling network, the companies announced today.
The network will include more than 600 Trek dealers, REI stores and independent bike shops and will be available in every state.
Alchemy has already collected more than 400,000 bicycle inner tubes for use in retail goods, diverting them from the waste stream.
Keeping bike tubes out of landfills is no small deal. Bike commuting is on the rise, growing by about 50 percent from 2000 to 20911, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
Americans bought more than 13 million bikes in just 2012, which would mean an estimated 26 million bike tubes will reach the end of their life over the next two years. If discarded, the rubber can take decades if not longer to decompose, according to a statement about the new recycling program.
Alchemy expects to turn that material into useable, water resistant bags, purses, wallets, belts, travel kits, and more.
"The reason these rubber tubes don't break down in the landfill is the same reason Alchemy Goods uses them to create our products. The material is durable, water resistant, flexible, and — might I add — stylish," said owner and chief alchemist Eli Reich. "Recycling turns stuff into the same thing over and over again. Upcyling turns something of lesser value into something of greater value."
Seattle-based Alchemy, which opened in 2004, creates unique and handmade products that are sold online and in some 300 boutiques and bike shops nationwide.
For REI and Trek, the move improves their sustainability profile, helping their “triple bottom” line by reducing waste.