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No more inner tube recycling?

Old 05-05-22, 11:07 AM
  #1  
MinnMan
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No more inner tube recycling?

It seems that I can no longer recycle my inner tubes, at least in the Twin Cities. Have recycling programs gone away?

I collect spent inner tubes in a bin in my basement and then every year or two take them to my LBS, which adds them to their heap and recycles them.

But this morning when I brought them my bin, they said that there was no longer a recycling program for them to access, and that they now just throw away the tubes.

This is one of the biggest local LBS chains (Freewheel). I could try another LBS, but I suspect I will get the same response.

Does anybody know more? Did recycling tubes stop being cost-effective compared to landfill?
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Old 05-05-22, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I could try another LBS, but I suspect I will get the same response.
Call and ask?
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Old 05-05-22, 11:53 AM
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The valve stems are brass. Currently worth about $2.00 per pound.
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Old 05-05-22, 11:54 AM
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Why not patch them?
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Old 05-05-22, 11:57 AM
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Bicycle inner tubes are "tanglers" which can't be processed on automated recycling lines. That's why they shouldn't go into curbside recycle.

Specialty recyclers are few and far between. And since there isn't a whole lot of rubber in a bicycle inner tubes, even rubber recyclers don't like them. (Even with all the hassles of processing car tires, they aren't a tangler, and there's a lot of material to process. NOBODY wants to recycle bicycle TIRES.)

Some upcyclers will take 50ish pound boxes of inner tubes, but they're facing a glut of supply. (Alchemy is one. But there's only so much demand for woven inner tube messenger bags.)

Ask yourself this question. Are inner tubes single use? (Generally not, unless you run over a goathead thorn on your first ride.) They've given you hundreds or thousands of miles. Discard with a clear conscience.

-mr. bill
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Old 05-05-22, 12:08 PM
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Why not repurpose them for use as tie down straps, etc ? They stretch nicely and work well for this. I cut mine into strips and use them for securing loads on the back. Also good for securing rolled up extension cords.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:09 PM
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I guess we just throw them away so that millions of years in the future some radioactive resistant reptilian humanoid can dig um up for fuel...
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Old 05-05-22, 12:17 PM
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I find old tubes indispensable for various uses around the shop. Cut into a long strip they can be wrapped around furniture and cabinets I sometimes build as a hobby to hold them together while the glue dries instead of having to own a truckload of clamps of various sorts and sizes. Shorter strips are also good to simply tie up a opened bag of ant bait or fertilizer. And just having them available I find a lot of oddball use for them that really comes in handy frequently.

Since I don't flat that often, I once thought I was going to have to sacrifice a brand new tube when I ran out of old tubes. But I was able to make do.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Why not repurpose them for use as tie down straps, etc ? They stretch nicely and work well for this. I cut mine into strips and use them for securing loads on the back. Also good for securing rolled up extension cords.
Now that you mention this, I have a few bungee cords that are getting pretty ratty. Replacing the rubber cord with some inner tube wouldn't work for everyrone because of the difference in stretchiness; but they'd work well for my purposes.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
I guess we just throw them away so that millions of years in the future some radioactive resistant reptilian humanoid can dig um up for fuel...
Probably a future archeologist will surmise that they played a big part in our religious ceremonies. <grin>
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Old 05-05-22, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Why not repurpose them for use as tie down straps, etc ? They stretch nicely and work well for this. I cut mine into strips and use them for securing loads on the back. Also good for securing rolled up extension cords.
I've seen them cut into narrow strips and square braided, better than bungee cords.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:24 PM
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How do you define "spent" when referring to tubes? Over the last 50 years, I've not had many tubes that I needed to dispose of. Most punctures can be patched, but when one is not repairable I repurpose them to a variety of uses around the house.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Bicycle inner tubes are "tanglers" which can't be processed on automated recycling lines. That's why they shouldn't go into curbside recycle.

Specialty recyclers are few and far between. And since there isn't a whole lot of rubber in a bicycle inner tubes, even rubber recyclers don't like them. (Even with all the hassles of processing car tires, they aren't a tangler, and there's a lot of material to process. NOBODY wants to recycle bicycle TIRES.)

Some upcyclers will take 50ish pound boxes of inner tubes, but they're facing a glut of supply. (Alchemy is one. But there's only so much demand for woven inner tube messenger bags.)

Ask yourself this question. Are inner tubes single use? (Generally not, unless you run over a goathead thorn on your first ride.) They've given you hundreds or thousands of miles. Discard with a clear conscience.

-mr. bill
Thanks for the informative reply. (Whereas some others seem intent on answering questions I did not ask.)
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Old 05-05-22, 01:32 PM
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The charity shop where I volunteer is entirely supported by donations, so we patch punctures whenever possible. The only times tubes don't get patched is when they suffer unpatchable damage, e.g. a large blow-out or leak at the base of the valve stem. Those tubes get repurposed by the community farm associated with the shop to tie back plants or support fruit-laden branches and such like. Very little ends up in the trash.
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Old 05-05-22, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I find old tubes indispensable for various uses around the shop. Cut into a long strip they can be wrapped around furniture and cabinets
I wrap them around the handles of garden tools to provide some padding.
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Old 05-05-22, 01:51 PM
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there is no glass recycling here
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Old 05-05-22, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Why not patch them?
This
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Old 05-05-22, 03:30 PM
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Here in Japan some districts have updated the trash processing technology, and items which formerly had to be separated can now be put in the “burnable” waste. The newer furnaces can burn tough stuff cleanly, while gleaning out and separating random bits of metal for recycling. This reduces the complication of separating trash, and decreases the number of trash collection days and trash trucks on the roads.
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Old 05-05-22, 06:26 PM
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FFS.

The question isn’t about reduce. (Patch your tubes until the patches have patches?)
It isn’t about reuse. (How many uses are there around the house?)
It’s about recycling.

So yeah, it’s tough to recycle a bicycle inner tube.

-mr. bill

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Old 05-05-22, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Thanks for the informative reply. (Whereas some others seem intent on answering questions I did not ask.)

They are making suggestions for other options to consider besides recycling.

I would report their shameful practice immediately.

Or loosen up and be nice.........................
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Old 05-06-22, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Why not patch them?
Patching tubes is getting to be a lost skill, very few cyclists out there know how to do it properly.
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Old 05-06-22, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Why not repurpose them for use as tie down straps, etc ? They stretch nicely and work well for this. I cut mine into strips and use them for securing loads on the back. Also good for securing rolled up extension cords.
Same. I generally will patch them…numerous times…until one of the patches then fails. it’s almost impossible to successfully patch over where there was previously a patch. But I hang onto the old ones and repurpose them in this, and many other ways. I’ve also recently begun repurposing my old bicycle tires. Foldable tire beads are really strong. I cut them off and use it for tying stuff. The tread comes in handy for stuff like spacers cut to size, leveling furniture, etc.

Dan
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Old 05-06-22, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling View Post
Here in Japan some districts have updated the trash processing technology, and items which formerly had to be separated can now be put in the “burnable” waste. The newer furnaces can burn tough stuff cleanly, while gleaning out and separating random bits of metal for recycling. This reduces the complication of separating trash, and decreases the number of trash collection days and trash trucks on the roads.
I've read that this has quietly been the case for a lot of things we imagined were being recycled. (Do you really think your used motor oil is being re-refined into new oil? What else are they going to do with mystery plastic? Etc.)
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Old 05-06-22, 09:18 AM
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I tie a rock to them and throw them in the river or lake or just toss them along the road........if you are really cleaver you can fill them with lead shot or powder and they make great saps for when some redneck messes with you.....
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Old 05-06-22, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Same. I generally will patch them…numerous times…until one of the patches then fails. it’s almost impossible to successfully patch over where there was previously a patch. But I hang onto the old ones and repurpose them in this, and many other ways. I’ve also recently begun repurposing my old bicycle tires. Foldable tire beads are really strong. I cut them off and use it for tying stuff. The tread comes in handy for stuff like spacers cut to size, leveling furniture, etc.

Dan

Sounds good Dan. I use the strips cut from the tubes for a lot of stuff especially "bungee" type applications. I use a strip to secure the front wheel from flopping around when doing maintenance on my road bikes on the bike stand. Park makes a nice tool for this but my securing strip is a lot cheaper
Interesting about the foldable tire beads. I will check them out.
Trying to survive with all the high prices on everything now. Anyway we can save helps. 8 foot 2 x 4's are now $6.00 each at Home Depot
Rambling away from the ops original question..................
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