SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alchemy Goods, manufacturer of upcycled bags and accessories, announces its partnership with Trek and REI to form a nationwide bike tube recycling network. This network includes over 600 Trek dealers, REI stores and independent bike shops, and is represented in nearly every state. To-date, Alchemy Goods has collected over 400,000 bicycle inner tubes — thereby diverting them from the landfill.
Cycling is on the rise as more cities adopt bike-friendly measures including the addition of bike lanes and bike share programs. According to the League of American Bicyclists, bike commuting has grown by 47-percent nationwide between 2000 and 2011. In fact, over 13 million bikes were purchased last year alone. From those purchased, 26 million bike tubes will end up in the landfill within two years. This is harmful to the environment since rubber can take anywhere from decades to hundreds of years to decompose.
“Our partnership with Alchemy is a reflection of our love of cycling and our commitment to serving our members,” said Kirk Myers, REI’s manager of sustainability. “REI is happy to be a part of this network, and collaborate with like-minded companies who share our commitment to social and environmental responsibility.”
Alchemy Goods aims to collect over 200,000 bike tubes by the end of this year — more than double what was collected in 2012. The company has joined forces with retail giants Trek and REI, as well as hundreds of independent bike shops of all sizes, to collect one million used bike tubes by the end of 2014.
“As part of our sustainability initiative, we’re always looking for innovative ways to recycle materials, and Alchemy is the perfect partner for that,” said Trek Director of Advocacy Brandon Buth. “We are aiming to collect tubes at each of our 1,800 retailers across the U.S., making recycling easy and accessible.”
Recycling program partners collect used tubes when shop mechanics service bikes or when customers drop them off. The tubes are then delivered to Alchemy Goods’ 5,300-square-foot warehouse and workshop in Seattle, where they are stored and sorted, and hand-crafted into finished product. Alchemy Goods accepts most tubes — even those with patches, which add character to the finished product. The company uses as much of the tube as possible, including the valve stem, which is used for zipper pulls.
“The reason these rubber tubes don’t break down in the landfill is the same reason Alchemy Goods uses them to create our products. The material is durable, water resistant, flexible, and — might I add — stylish,” said owner and chief alchemist Eli Reich. “Recycling turns stuff into the same thing over and over again. Upcyling turns something of lesser value into something of greater value.”
When Alchemy Goods started in 2004, Reich would visit Seattle-area bike shops to pick up used bike tubes to make messenger bags. Alchemy Goods now manufactures nearly 50 products — including bags, purses, wallets, belts, travel kits, and more — in over 200 styles from reclaimed bike inner tubes, seatbelts, and old advertising banners. Each piece is unique and handmade. The products are sold online, and in over 300 boutiques and bike shops nationwide.
About Alchemy Goods
Since 2004, Seattle-based Alchemy Goods has been manufacturing upcycled bags and accessories from reclaimed materials, including used bike tubes, seat belts, and advertising banners. From bags to belts, the company’s line includes nearly 50 products available in over 200 styles. Alchemy Goods has established a tube recycling program, partnering with Trek, REI and independent bike shops nationwide to collect bike tubes as the key raw material for its products. Alchemy Goods products are sold in select stores nationwide and online at www.alchemygoods.com.
Trek Bicycle is a global leader in the design and manufacture of bicycles and related products. Trek believes the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world’s most complex problems, and is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for transportation, recreation, and inspiration.
REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than 5 million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 129 stores in 32 states, as well as REI.com and REI.com/outlet. This year, REI will invest $3 million in local communities to help care for outdoor spaces.