Small business Revolve ReCYCLING leads the way in the recycling of bike tyres and tubes

A collaboration between Tyrecycle and Revolve ReCYCLING is making it possible for bicycle tyres and tubes to be recycled rather than be thrown away, as has invariably been the case to date.

Research reveals that 10 per cent of a typical bike shop’s waste is rubber from used tyres and tubes, meaning that Sydney’s 100 bike shops could potentially generate up to 50 tonnes per year of rubber waste. It is also estimated that there are up to 14 million tyres and tubes on unused bicycles in Australia’s garages, verandas, and sheds – or some 10,000 tonnes of material.

The collaboration will see Revolve ReCYCLING handle the collection of the tyres and tubes from bike shops and bikers and transport them to Tyrecycle’s new Erskine Park plant where they will be recycled into new Australian-based products.

“Until now, bicycle tyres and tubes have been challenging to recycle for a number of reasons, including the overall lack of scale and the need to remove metal valves,” Pete Shmigel, Director of Revolve ReCYCLING, said. “We will meet this challenge by consolidating collection of tyre material across many bike shops and by pre-treating it so that Tyrecycle can usefully use it.”

Jim Fairweather, CEO of Tyrecycle, said that getting higher-quality material means his business can now more readily use bicycle tyres and tubes in their product manufacturing.

“This could include in rubber crumb used in playground equipment and in road-building materials,” Fairweather said. “It’s part of Tyrecycle’s commitment to going circular.”

Suzanne Toumbourou, CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling, described the collaboration as a “terrific example of how the recycling industry partners and innovates for environmental benefits”.

“Four ACOR members are involved in taking what was going to landfill and now turning it into useful products,” Toumbourou said. “This type of activity is what Governments should support, including Councils by providing drop-off points for used bicycles and e-bikes.”

Tyrecycle is an internationally-awarded tyre recycler and recycled content product manufacturer. Revolve ReCYCLING is an initiative aimed to help riders, bike shops and other retailers, fleet operators, councils, importers, and others give new life to old bikes.

The recycling solution for bicycle tyres and tubes will be part of Revolve ReCYCLING’s new bike shop waste minimisation service. The service will be available across Sydney from January 2023 with plans to expand to Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong and further in due course.