By Deborah Swearingen
BOULDER » With money covered by the city’s Climate Initiatives department, Community Cycles will now be able to recycle bike tires that are not suitable for reuse.
The city committed to spending $1,000, the cost of up to 2,000 recycled bike tires, at Eco-Cycle’s Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials.
The recycling program is a pilot made possible through a partnership between Community Cycles, Eco-Cycle and the city, according to Leah Kelleher, a spokesperson in the city’s Climate Initiatives department.
Community Cycles, a Boulder-based nonprofit cycling shop and advocacy group, collects bike and bike tire donations from the community and sends tires to Eco-Cycle’s CHaRM for recycling.
The money provided by Boulder covers about a third of what Community Cycles expects to need in 2022.
The nonprofit typically collects about 1,500 used bike tires a year, Executive Director Sue Prant noted. That’s about 3,000 pounds of tires that had been going to the landfill, where the synthetic rubber and butyl tubing will sit for years, failing to break down or biodegrade, according to Green Matters, a news organization that covers sustainability.
Some of the tires donated to Community Cycles can be resold or reused, but not all.
“We have this issue where in order to recycle tires we have to pay for them at Eco-Cycle,” Prant said. “It’s always been a bit of a strain because … we can’t reuse too many tires.”
“Even though we recycle a ton of stuff here, we still create garbage,” she added. “We try to keep our trash low, but some of it is unavoidable.”
Community Cycles has committed to fronting the cost of recycling for the remainder of 2022 but will be looking for alternative funding sources after that.
Eco-Cycle and CHaRM charge a $3 fee for each vehicle entering the facility. The center charges an additional 50 cents per bike tire or tube. Dax Burgos, shop director at Community Cyles, intends to make weekly trips to CHaRM with a van full of used bike tires to be recycled.
Keeping tires out of the landfill is one of the ways Community Cycles works to create a culture of environmentally sustainable cycling, the nonprofit noted on its website.
Likewise, the pilot program is a benefit for Boulder, given the city’s goal of diverting 85% of community waste from landfills by 2025. Data indicates the city diverts 53% of community waste from landfills.
“The city has had a long relationship with Community Cycles,” Boulder’s Sustainability Program Manager Ellen Orleans said in a statement. “By funding a portion of their annual bike tire recycling, we’ll help them be an even more sustainability-minded organization.”
Community Cycles accepts bike donations when its store is open, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.