Boulder Bike Shop gets grant to recycle thousands of tires

Photo courtesy of Community Cycles

Tires are expensive components and potentially need to be replaced several times a year depending on how often you ride. The only thing that hurts more than spending an extra $80 on another piece of rubber is tossing the old one in the trash.

Community Cycles, a bike cooperative based in Boulder, Colorado, is tired of sending tires to landfills.

“Recycling is kind of our thing,” said store manager Dax Burgos.

The store receives countless donations every week, ranging from complete bikes to tires and other components. Community Cycles refurbishes and sells used bikes and equipment, and the money from the sales keeps their operations going. Tires, although they appear to be in good condition, are often the only component that cannot be resold or reused. People don’t seem interested in buying used tires or inner tubes, or unworn tires have been sitting in a garage too long and are rotting dry.

“We throw away probably 100 tires a week,” Burgos said. Thanks to a new grant from the City of Boulder’s Climate Initiatives Department, Community Cycles is on track to cover about a third of its tire recycling costs for the year.

Community Cycles received $1,000, and Burgos estimates the money will last 3-4 months in the store. The store has agreed to cover the costs for the rest of the year. Now, once a week, Burgos will load a van with recently donated, unfortunate tires and drive them down the road to Ecocycle, a specialist recycling facility in Boulder.

Ecocycle said they normally charge $3 per vehicle entry and 50 cents per inner tube or tire for recycling. As a rule, the rubber is crushed and used for the base of the road.

Burgos hopes they can get another grant when the $1,000 is up and the initiative will move the conversation about tire recycling forward.

Unlike car tire stores where users have to pay a recycling fee for old tires upon installation, many riders install new tires themselves at home and recycling depends on finding a facility. specialized recycling company like Ecocycle.

“I really hope this is something that inspires other bike shops to look for other avenues or maybe the industry can come together and add that 50 cent charge to every tire we sell until ’til it suddenly becomes a norm, as it does with the automobile. industry,” Burgos said.