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How to Recycle Bicycle Tyres and Tubes

How to Recycle Bicycle Tyres and Tubes

Bicycle tyres, tubes and rims can be taken to your local transfer station for recycling.

First consider selling, trading or giving your bicycle wheels away if they are still usable. There are also many many ways to re-use, re-purpose or pass them on.

Bicycle tubes themselves are not recyclable, but are particularly useful and can readily be used for all kinds of things, even by the least competent diy'er. Bungee chords, tube patches and sling shots are easy to make. If you are more accomplished, check out the internet for ideas to diy belts, door mats, chair webbing and bracelets.

Consider donating your bicycle wheels to one of the many community bike organisations. There are a number of groups who will take your unwanted cast offs and use them as parts to fix or make bikes for refugees, street kids and other people who cannot afford a bike. Some organisations use your wheels and tubes in workshops to assist people who are fixing their own bikes.

Check the Location and Trading tab for you your closest community organisation and information about the work they do.

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Science Notes

Bicycle tubes are typically made of a synthetic rubber called Butyl Rubber (polyisobutylene). 

Bicycle tyres are like car tyres and contain heavy metals such as lead, zinc, copper, cadmium, chromium and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. All of
these metals are harmful to health so please don't put your bicycle tyre into landfill.

If your bicycle frame is heavy, it is typically made of steel and recyclable. If it is light, it is typically made of carbon fibre which is not recyclable. 

Related Tip

Bicycles are incredibly versatile with most of their parts reusable in a new life. Bicycle pieces make great clocks, picture frames, tables, pot holders, garden trellis or a hanging hook.