Recycling Bike Tires & Inner Tubes For a Greener Future

Biking is one of the most eco-friendly forms of transit, but the waste from used bike tires and inner tubes is often overlooked. Recently, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, people across the globe are taking up cycling. 

However, millions of waste tires and tubes are generated every year in the US. The stats are similar in the UK, too; according to, “Research from Staffordshire-based tyre recycling scheme Velorim suggests that 30,500,000 tyres and 152,500,000 inner tubes are disposed of at landfill every year, highlighting the need for an environmentally sound way of disposing of bike tyres and inner tubes at their end of life.”

Non-Biodegradable Materials

The over-accumulated waste is only part of the problem. Usually made out of butyl rubber (a synthetic material), inner tubes and tires do not biodegrade. Instead, the wasted rubber breaks down into microplastics, which is a common pollutant in oceans and soil.

In the UK and in many states across the US, the scrapping of automobile tires has been illegal for some years now. But bike tires are not on the same legislative platform, so many citizens are taking matters into their own hands. For example, a project set in place by Velorim, known as the National Bicycle Tyre Recycling Scheme and set to launch in September, will see participating bike shops, workshops, hire schemes and cycle refurbishment centres all become local collection points for recycling bike tires and tubes. Motives such as financial compensation and environmental responsibility are encouraging consumers to participate. 

Refurbishing & Recycling Old Tires

Most often, when bike tires are being recycled and refurbished, the rubber is collected from inner tubes and new tires are made up of 20 per cent recycled rubber, while the valves from the inner tubes are recycled as scrap metal.

Advances are being made to improve the recyclability of bike parts and address the industry’s mounting carbon footprint, as tire companies gain awareness of issues with sustainability in the industry.

National recycling initiatives offer promise for a greener cycling future. Research local recycling centers to find out how you can get rid of old bike tires responsibly. 

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