Political Parties Urged to Back Recycling Scheme for Micromobility

Sydney, NSW

Australia’s political parties should commit to world-leading recycling of personal transport vehicles (PTVs) such as bicycles, e-bikes, and e-scooters, according to an unprecedented alliance of bicycle riders, manufacturers, environmentalists, fleet providers, policy experts and recyclers.

On the eve of last weekend’s Federal election, the alliance of seven bike, environment and waste organisations called on political parties to back a product stewardship scheme for micromobility devices.

“Bicycles and other PTVs are eco-friendly machines, and they should not be going to landfill at the end of their first useful life,” according to a statement from the alliance members: We Ride Australia, Bicycle Industries Australia (BIA), Total Environment Centre, Bingo Industries, Equilibrium, The Pedal Club, and Revolve ReCYCLING.

“The Coalition, the Australian Labor Party, and the Greens can show international leadership by promising to introduce product stewardship policy for PTVs to make sure they are recovered, reused, or recycled to the greatest extent possible in Australia.

“Sales and use of PTVs are booming here and that’s a great boon for our environment. Some 1.7 million new bikes were bought in 2020 and 1.55 million in 2021.

“We want to make sure that old bikes also get a new life, or that the metals, plastics, and rubbers they are made from are recycled.”

According to the alliance, the product stewardship policy would give manufacturers some of the responsibility for the end-of-life management of the bicycles and accessories they produce.

A man repairing a bicycle
Revolve ReCYCLING reports it has kept 20 tonnes of material out of landfill and put hundreds of bikes back into use. Photo credit: Revolve ReCYCLING.

It points to a similar policy for televisions and computers that has set an 80% recycling target by 2026-27.

The group says it is “particularly vital” for batteries in e-bikes and other PTVs are responsibly and safely managed, the statement says.

e-Bikes are the fastest-growing category of micromobility, and the alliance estimates there are 75,000 PTV batteries entering the market each year.

BIA CEO Peter Bourke said: “Australian importers of quality bicycles and PTVs support recycling as the next step in reducing carbon emissions.”

Revolve ReCYCLING, a private-funding social enterprise formed in 2021, is providing household recovery, recycling, and redeployment of bicycles and other PTVs in Sydney.

Its general manager, Guido Verbist, estimates Revolve ReCYCLING has kept 20 tonnes of material out of landfill and put hundreds of bikes back into use, including through charitable donations to kids and refugees from Ukraine.

“We know that in Sydney alone there’s some 30,000 old bikes in people’s garages and verandahs,” Guido said.

“Many of those can be redeployed and all can be recycled. At least 500 tonnes per year can be kept out of landfill and dozens of jobs, including for disadvantaged people, created in resource recovery.

“But It takes partnership between the entire supply chain, including the big retail stores like K-Mart, and action from governments to set the right economic signals.”

“The mobility revolution is underway and product stewardship policy for PTVs from the major parties needs to keep pace with it.”

He said Revolve ReCYCLING “had made some good inroads with the outgoing government” on the issue of establishing a bike product stewardship scheme, “to the point the now ex-minister for environment, Susan Ley, intended to visit our workshop in case she would have been re-elected.

“We would like to extend this invitation to visit our workshop and to have the conversation for the bike product stewardship with the incoming government,” Guido said.

For more information, contact Guido Verbist at guido@revolverecycling.net or 0459 999 110.

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