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Thursday, 20 August 2020 11:04

Bicycle and recycle - new firm set to tackle landfill-bound tyre and inner tubes

Every year in the UK a staggering 44,000 tonnes of bicycle tyres and inner tubes are disposed of, with 99% ending up in landfills, and this is only set to increase with the growth in cycling since the coronavirus pandemic.

bicycle tyre recycle scrap 4However, enter Velorim Ltd, a sustainable startup founded in 2019 in Staffordshire, who claim they are to become the UK's first bicycle tyre recycler. The company will launch on 1st September and already a lot of their operations of collection of scrap tyres have begun. Velorim is launching a National Bicycle Tyre Recycling Scheme, which will enable every bike repair shop, retailer and hire-scheme to recycle a tyre at 50p and inner tube at a price of 20p per tube.

Velorim Ltd originated out of the need of an alternative method to put the scrap tyres to use. Richard Lawrence, one of the two directors at Velorim explains their business story: "Russ Taylor and I are Trustees of a charity, Cycle-R, that refurbishes and recycles donated bicycles. During the refurbishment process approximately 50% of these bikes are scrapped and broken down into steel, alloy, plastic and rubber from items such as tyres, inner tubes, hand grips, etc.

"Of these, the steel, alloy and plastics are onward processed through standard collection and recycling routes. However, we have been unable to find anyone in the world who will collect bicycle tyres at this scale."

Richard claims that this created the core idea for Velorim. The company has been set up as a stand-alone organisation to offer this service to the UK cycle industry. Velorim will be offering a subscription based collection scheme that will see participating bike stores, workshops, hire schemes and cycle refurbishment centres all become local collection points. All rubber collected will be reprocessed into new materials or re-used in other ways, with zero going to landfill and none exported.

bicycle tyre recycle scrap 1The scheme will be funded by consumers, as per government request, by means of a recycling levy of 50p per tyre and 20p per inner tube being charged for every scrap tyre received.

Velorim aims to roll out a National BicycleTyre Recycle Scheme which involves setting up collection centres nationally. Their CEO, Dave Hawthorne, throws light on this by saying: "We are in the process of identifying the appropriate collection centres across the country and as these are confirmed they will appear on our website. People can nominate their local bike shop as a collection centre, either by dropping us an email or telling us personally that they should sign up."

bicycle tyre recycle boxWhen asked how this will make a national impact, Richard Lawrence affirms: "The UK national impact will be the regular and accepted use of the Velorim Centres, with individual cyclists accepting the idea that there is a small charge associated with recycling and in realistic terms, removing up to 85% of all scrap bicycle tyres and inner tubes from the standard waste system and, therefore, out of landfill."

Since 2018, Velorim has been researching and developing recycling methodologies specific to bicycle tyres and inner tubes, from this has been developed a couple of specific products, VeloButadein™ (which is available for sale now), and VeloSBR™ and other related products that will come on-line shortly. These products are unique to Velorim and are direct replacements for raw materials used in certain manufacturing industries.

The aim of Velorim is to create a circular economy focussed around bicycle tyres and inner tubes. Already 20 contracts and over 20 expressions of interest have been made before the official launch of the scheme next month.