Pedal-powered recycling for those in need

Saturday morning (4/28/12) I was honored to volunteer for several hours with my friends from MSU Bikes and Share-a-Bike to receive donated bicycles for recycling at the local Spring Recycling Event. Bicycles were just one item, among many, that were being accepted for recycling. Other items included books, phone books, styrofoam, electronics, appliances, and expired medicines. The more traditional recycled goods like paper and plastic are left to twice-a-month curbside pick-ups in the community or the public drop-off sites at the MSU Recycling Center or at Granger in Lansing.

Photo by Tim Potter

In the two hours I was there, the entire truck shown in the photograph above was filled with all sorts of bicycles and similar modes of transport, including one that reminded me of my youth (as you can see from the picture above). Once filled, the bikes are transported to Share-a-Bike’s drop-off facility in East Lansing and the truck returns to be re-filled again.

Best of all, the bikes will be going to those in need and/or will be salvaged for parts. Those that cannot be salvaged are recycled at a nearby metal salvage yard and the money garnered is then used to purchase helmets for the needy at a discount from Bell Sports.

MSU Bikes is the campus bicycle store at Michigan State University. It’s

mission is as follows:

MSU Bikes is dedicated to promoting bicycling as a safe, fun, economical, efficient, environmentally friendly and healthy transportation alternative for the MSU campus community.

Meanwhile, Share-a-Bike is a wonderful program begun in 1994 that refurbishes used bike and donates them to the homeless, new immigrants, and the underprivileged here in Greater Lansing. The need for donated bicycles is definitely there. As Dick Janson explained to me, more than 600 bicycles have been given to those in need in each of the past three years and many more could have been if there had been more donations.

If there is a recycling program or charity organization in your local community, please see if they accept bicycles for donation, particularly if they are refurbished and then presented to those in need at no cost. There are many less fortunate people in our society who cannot afford to own a car, who cannot drive a car, or who cannot live or work within reasonable proximity to a public transit corridor. Bicycles present them with another option for affordable and active transportation – perhaps a lifeline of last resort.

Here are a few more pictures from yesterday (yes it was chilly):

Photo by LeRoy Harvey

Photo by LeRoy Harvey

This entry was posted in bicycling, civics, culture, diversity, education, environment, fun, health, history, homelessness, human rights, immigration, peace, poverty, recycling, transportation, volunteerism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pedal-powered recycling for those in need

  1. Trinidad says:

    Wonderful, wonderful initiative – I fully support the supply of used bicycles to people who cannot afford any other form of transportation. It is fantastic! They are also useful to other countries where they are needed to get water and basic needs which are difficult to access in remote places.


  2. Pingback: Pedal-powered recycling for those in need « mmatc

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