The Chainlink

We don't burn gas or leak oil but my pile of used tubes,tires,2 broken seats brake pads, dirty rags...is piling up. I would like to recycle or find a way for them to be reused. On a related note which are the people who repair their flat or brake a chain/cable and just leave it along the bike path?

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Anything with a fair amount of steel in it can go to the scrap yard.  Tires mainly get shredded and go into coal fired power plants, so the environmentaly friendliness of "recycling" them is questionable. 

 

It's sad, but the most environmentally friendly thing you can do is die, prefererably before reproducing.

Most all of our other actions/activities have some sort of environmental downside.

You're right, I think I'll "off myself" for the good of the Earth.

This topic could fuel quite a few PhD dissertations, in my estimation.  Don't forget what happens before the bike is fabricated.  Mining (metals), chemical processing (rubber/plastics) to get raw materials has an environmental impact.  Factories are built which has an impact.  Heating the factory and supplying electricity thereto.  Employees driving to work or taking the trains/buses has an impact.  Fabrication has environmental impact, welding materials, epoxy fumes, cutoffs are disposed.  Transportation of the goods to your LBS has carbon costs, not to mention the cost of the delivery vehicles. I could go on, and it could drive you crazy accounting for all of the real costs - including the hidden costs that are hard or impossible to estimate.

But compared to cars and trucks... 

The bike garage in Millenium Park now has a bin for recycling old tubes

LOL. Also, don't get cremated as it uses too much fuel and make sure your coffin is eco-friendly... might want to state all of this on your living will printed on recycled paper with biodegradable ink.


mark stetson said:

It's sad, but the most environmentally friendly thing you can do is die, prefererably before reproducing.

Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I don't see old bike parts along the roads and paths- mostly empty water bottles, gel & energy bar wrappers, etc..

(I'll take that seat post rack off your hands if you don't need it anymore, Mike.)

You could try this with the old saddles. And old wheels could be used as an alternative to a bulletin board by placing notes, pictures, post cards, ect between the spokes.

This was my point.  Everything we do (or buy) has some impact that we usually don't think about, let alone be able to quantify.  Bikes are generally pretty far down the list of what I would consider to be environmental sins though.

Steve Courtright said:

...... I could go on, and it could drive you crazy accounting for all of the real costs - including the hidden costs that are hard or impossible to estimate.

But compared to cars and trucks...

 

Unfortunately, lots of things can't be recycled.   My building has a bin to recycle paper/cardboard and another for plastic/metal/glass but the irony is the maintenance crew in my building insist we bundle them in plastic bags because otherwise our recently washed cans and jars will make a royal mess and smell of the bins... and I know plastic bags are the worse items of garbage in existence, so here I am doing one good thing for the planet at the same time as one bad thing.  Let us not forget either that the tar of our roads tend to have petroleum in them (though I believe there are alternatives to petroleum, though not in use as much) - so we are biking on a major cause of global warming while not causing it by biking, again at the same time!  I have read recently of an amazing invention that I am hoping will spread like wildfire - plasma gasification also known as syngas.  This is the quickest link I could find to something on it but there are better ones out there: http://inhabitat.com/plasma-plants-vaporize-trash-to-generate-energy/  It is JUST like the plasma converters in Star Trek (another great invention that started on that show!) - one day (and we are doing it now to some extent) we will be able to burn ALL garbage (and hence have less need for recycling) by reducing it ALL to plasma, which exists PRIOR to the formation of molecules (as in stars) and so can reconstitute later into metals and other elements.  That ENTIRE environmental catastrophe that is garbage can actually be reduced to useable substances AND even contribute to energy production.  I just wish our nations would hurry up and build them all over the place.  This is the kind of technology that could revolutionize our planetary culture.

I cut used inner tubes into strips and wrap bars with them. You have to wash them thoroughly and there isn't much padding but I'm a fan. They can probably be used in place of bungee cords as well.

Send the dirty rags through the laundry and use them again?

Tie the two broken seats together and toss them over a power line?

It is better overall, just a random thought. Thanks for the tube recycling and since I can't make a tire swing out of a bike tire.

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