The cycling industry gets away with some pretty wasteful practices, which it often waves away under the pretense of "it's bikes, so it's green." The reality is that buying less, repairing and reusing your things, and riding more locally are the best things for the earth; however, we applaud the brands that are trying to reduce their impacts on the environment too. The perfect is the enemy of the good, so it's great to see people working towards better. Let's take a look at the recent announcements that move the industry forward in reducing its impact on the environment.
Decathlon Innovation Awards 2022
Decathlon's Reveal awards are the brand's internal innovation award aimed at highlighting potential new products. This year's award showed off some interesting products for cycling that could leave a positive impact. Rockrider MTB Helm EXPL 100
The Rockrider XPL 100 helmet is designed to be fully recyclable with each material having the potential to be separated after use to make it possible to reuse. Normally, if materials are permanently stuck together it can make recycling difficult. Decathlon says this process of making a fully recyclable helmet can be applied to other helmets. Decathlon Gel Pod
Disposed gel packets can be a common sight when out on the trails, but the new gel pod from Decathlon looks to change this by making it from seaweed. The aim of this gel pod is to have a fully edible shell so there is no need for a foil packet and you can just pop it all in your mouth with no waste.
Schwalbe Bike Soap
Schwalbe has launched its own bike cleaning solution with its solid block of soap. Schwalbe claim the advantage of this is a simpler and more environmentally friendly production as well as a longer shelf life. To create the soap Schwalbe has used 100% biodegradable ingredients and no perfumes or microplastics while lasting for around 100 washes.
Continental Using Naturally Sourced Rubber
Continental is now using sourced natural rubber from Indonesia in its gravity mountain bike tires.
Since July this year, all of the new tires in the brand's gravity range will feature rubber sourced from a project in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Claus Petschick, head of sustainability at Continental Tyres, said: “I’m delighted that we are now using responsibly sourced natural rubber from our project in Indonesia in series production for our ‘Gravity’ mountain bike tires.
“Our ambition is to actively take responsibility in our supply chains. For us, digitalisation and education are key to enhancing the transparency of our natural rubber supply chains.”
Continental sustainably sourced rubber is cultivated and processed through a transparent supply chain with measures in place to ensure the upholding of human rights, minimising the environmental impact and improving the living conditions of local smallholders. The companiy's goal is to have a 100% sustainable supply chain by 2050 with natural rubber from responsible sources in every product range by 2030
Muc-Off Launches Refills
Muc-Off has announced new refill options for its ranges of lubricants.
The brand's Wet Weather Lube, Dry Weather Lube, C3 Ceramic Wet Lube and C3 Ceramic Dry Lube will now be available in more environmentally friendly packaging as well as offering a cost saving. The wet and dry weather lubes offer a 45% reduction in cost whereas the C3 Ceramic lubes so a price drop of 63%. Each of the new lube refills will fill Muc-Off's standard 50ml bottle six times, reducing packaging by 43% compared to having individual bottles.
Alex Trimnell, CEO at Muc-Off, said: “The idea behind refill lubes is simple – reusing is better than recycling. We’re on mission here to drive down the amount of plastic being used, which is exactly what these products do. We’re excited for riders to enjoy the performance benefits these lubes can bring to their bikes, and the formulations mean their drivetrain components will have an extended life, saving them money and having a positive impact on the environment. Innovation is in our DNA and we’re relentless in our pursuit of sustainable solutions – this launch is another turn of the cranks in the right direction.”
Polartec Commits to Net-Zero
Polartec's parent organization Milliken & Company has announced it will be working towards science-based net-zero targets.
UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has verified the companies' short and long-term targets to ensure they are consistent with climate science and the Paris Agreement as net-zero is aimed for 2050. Milliken & Company is one of only 50 companies globally to have achieved approval from SBTi.
Turning Tires into Bike Paths
Velorim, a tire and tube recycling company, has announced it will be turning reclaimed rubber into a material that can be used for cycle paths.
Richard Lawrence, the company’s Director said: "Velo-Path is a single-layered system with a bark-like appearance. It is constructed of recycled shredded bicycle tires bonded together with polyurethane resin. As the pieces are much larger than standard rubber crumb, the spaces between gives it greater flexibility and open pores, allowing superb water ingress. As it is made from rubber that means the surface does not become slippery even in wet conditions, maintaining the rider experience."
The company offers a UK-wide recycling service to workshops and businesses in the cycling trade and is supported by distributor Madison. Shops can either fill a tire cage with 180 tires, a bag with 25 tires of a box with 160 inner tubes.