Meet Abdul, the logistics coordinator from Revolve ReCYCLING, collecting a van load of donated bikes from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The bikes are on their way to a warehouse in Alexandria where they will be refurbished for sale, redeployed to community groups or dismantled into separate materials that can be used to make new products.
Revolve ReCYCLING is a new social enterprise in Sydney that gives life to old rides. Founded just 7 months ago by entrepreneur Pete Smigel, the organisation has now saved over 1200 bikes from landfill. The General Manager is Guido Verbist, a circular economy legend who introduced the ‘Right to Repair’ movement while leading the Bower Reuse and Repair Centres.
The project is growing very fast. Revolve ReCYCLING has partnered with waste experts Bingo Industries and moved into a new space in Alexandria. There will soon be capacity to process 6000 bikes every year and the model can be replicated in other parts of Australia.
Revolve ReCYCLING is leading the way in demonstrating that recycling bikes makes financial sense. The key lies in unlocking the value of the materials used in the bikes, not just refurbishing the bikes for resale. Too often bikes end up in landfill because the systems to recycle them efficiently are not in place. The explosion in sales of e-bikes, e-scooters and other personal transport vehicles (PTVs) will lead to a mountain of wasted materials without action. Guido has developed a program to collect packaging, old bikes and unwanted components from bike shops and has exciting ambitions for Revolve ReCYCLING to be the primary platform for riders, bike retailers, PTV fleet operators, councils and importers to give new life to old bikes in Australia. The wheels of the circular economy are turning!
Another exciting aspect of Revolve ReCYCLING’s strategy is to provide employment opportunities for people from disadvantaged or disabled backgrounds, people like Abdul who wasn’t able to work for several years due to health issues.
“It is fantastic that Revolve ReCYCLING is tackling the growing problem of PTV waste with a financially - and socially-sustainable model,” says Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean. “By saving bikes from landfill and employing mechanics from disadvantaged and migrant backgrounds, Revolve is rebuilding bikes and rebuilding lives.”
According to Guido, 30,000 households in metropolitan Sydney have bikes cluttering up sheds and garages. If you have upgraded your bike, or your children have outgrown one, register for a collection here, or drop the bikes into the Alexandria warehouse. And next time you buy a bike, check out the Revolve ReCYCLING shop to choose one that is kind to people and planet. Home delivery is possible for a small fee and all bikes come with a free service and warranties.
For more places to donate your bikes, both in Sydney and regional towns, check out our directory of fantastic bike recycling organisations.