Reducing plastic waste, recycling more and generally being kinder to the planet is front page news now. At MCF, the bikes we reuse may be predominantly metal and not plastic but refurbishing them and giving them a new lease of life is still important from an environmental perspective. Every year thousands of bikes are taken to council operated recycling centres and recycled along with other scrap metal. But if an item can be reused, recycling is not good enough. Reuse is higher up the waste hierarchy than recycling and it is second only to not creating waste in the first place.
In December 2017 MCF received a grant from the Greggs Environment Foundation, which funds projects that improve the physical environment in a way that also benefits the wider community. The grant allowed MCF to employ a waste management specialist to approach local authorities with the aim of accessing bikes from Household Waste Recycling Centres for reuse.
Emma Clarke, an Environmental Consultant with Resource Futures, an MCF customer and novice cyclist has used her knowledge of the waste industry to help MCF gain access to a number of local authorities. So far, we are in the process of establishing trials for the collections of bikes from two recycling centres and one waste transfer station in the north of England with discussions still on-going with other local authorities and waste management companies. We hope that the current trials are successful and that we can promote our new partnerships in future newsletters. The more bikes we can source, means more to refurbish in our prison workshops and more to donate to our beneficiary organisations to improve the lives of people around the world. We are pleased to be doing our bit to help the environment.
In a short period of time Emma has secured bikes to supply our worshops from Blackburn Waste Transfer Site, Northumbria University and we are beginning a trial at a site in Merseyside.
Since the Margaret Carey Foundation began in 2010 it has recycled over 11,000 bikes and 900 wheelchairs. This is the equivalent to 1,375 tonnes of bikes and 13.5 tonnes of wheelchairs saved from landfill.