“What we take, how and what we make, what we waste, is in fact a question of ethics.”
- Yvon Chouinard
I first read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard back in 2016 and it made an immediate impression on me. The combination of hobby and business clearly resonated as I was in a position with Cyclistick to enact many of Yvon’s lessons. From his perspective businesses can not only be conscious of their impact, but also be a force for good and change.
As a small business we don’t command the same social reach as Patagonia, but we can start to emulate their way of operating by becoming aware of the ways our business may impact the planet, and what steps we can take to mitigate the impression we leave.
What we do well
We use fully recyclable packaging that is also made from recycled material and where known, is FSC and PEFC Certified. Our info cards included with each order are also FSC Certified and again made from recycled material and are 100% recyclable through your local kerbside collection. Additionally if these products do find themselves in general waste, they are biodegradable. We utilise software to minimise material waste when cutting our protection products from the roll. We also recycle the backing material at a local soft plastic recycling centre.
What we do badly
The biggest difficulty here is with the product itself. All our protection products are made from Polymeric PVC cast film. Although there are some sprouting enterprise for recycling rigid PVC, cast films use plasticisers to convert PVC into a soft and flexible material. As a result these films cannot currently be recycled.
This does however result in a film that is extremely weather resistant and has a 5-7 year lifespan, which covers the expected use cycle of most bicycles within the cyclist community. Over 42% of cyclists on a Pinkbike Poll said they keep their bike for around 4-10 seasons, with 23% keeping their bike for less than 4. The main contributing factors for selling are to benefit from new technologies or for updated geometry. With this in mind we’re confident our protection will keep performing for the lifespan of your bike, which goes some way to offsetting its inability to be recycled currently.
You can now find all the relevant information on each of the pieces that make up your order, and how best to dispose of them on our Impact page. This page will be updated as necessary to provide the most up to date information. We see this as the first step in a continued effort to not only ensure the business is efficient in how we operate, but also in an attempting to become a leader in the space. As a results we will force our competitors to follow suit and improve their sustainability practices as standards and expectations increase.