The local bike shop, not the wealthiest operation, has a pile of dead inner tubes growing on the floor. I'd love to discover something where used inner tubes are repurposed, melted down, made into something else. Similar to how e-waste is harvested and repurposed.

We have need for only so many rubber bands and so many bungees.

  • 1
    Since many of us are working with used bikes and parts, I'd also like to propose a "re-use" or "recycling" tag. I don't have enough rep to do it myself. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 3:04
  • Done. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 4:34
  • 1
    I don't know of any recycling programs, but I often re-use "dead" tubes for padding on my car's bike rack. (Cut a slit in the tube lengthwise, chop off the valve, and wrap it on the rack like handlebar tape.) Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 19:23
  • 3
    Check this out: alchemygoods.com They're making messenger bags out of old inner tubes. It's just a Seattle thing, as far as the recycling goes. Every recycling company's differnent as far as who will accept bike tubes and tires.
    – DC_CARR
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 22:12

8 Answers 8



They recycle inner tubes into usable products, and will give you credit towards their products for recycling.

  • They no longer give store credit for turning your tubes in. I'll never be able to afford their awesome stuff without the help. Oh well… the video is very cool and makes me want to be a yuppie! So I guess I'll just go to my local REI and they'll get sent to AG anyway. I still get to feel good about helping keep the planet clean, even though someone else is profiting off me… Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 17:37

How about recycling them yourself? Here are some ideas posted on the brilliant BikeHacks website.

Shoelaces, wallet, yarn, handlebar tape, top tube passenger seat, dog lead, Maglite handlebar attachment, rack, key chain bling, bike bell, repaired bike seat...

enter image description hereenter image description here


MEC in Canada accept dead inner tubes and tires, so i'm guessing REI in the states also will

  • Performance Bike had a recycling event - event PDF link - if you're near one of their stores, you might try bringing them there. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 5:05
  • Correct, most REIs appear to participate in a a recycling program, but apparently they just send the tubes to Alchemy Goods (see ZenBikes answer) and get a little credit ($) themselves I think. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 17:39

Somewhat off topic but when I was 13 (or something like that) I went to a scout summer camp. A bike shop had given the camp a big pile of used tubes. It was Awesome. We made tonnes of stuff with them that summer including giant sling shots between two trees. I am not sure but maybe an ad on kijiji or craigslist could find a home for these.

  • Not at all off-topic. There are lots of craft projects that can make use of bicycle inner tubes. Talk to your local Scoutmaster. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 1:17

See http://www.ibike.org/environment/recycling/ for organizations that ship bikes to 3rd world countries.

I am a member of the Village Bicycle Project in Seattle WA we collect bikes and parts including usable tires and inner tubes. Inner tubes with no worse than a simple puncture are accepted.

We do not encourage making usable inner tubes into designer handbags.


I've seen a number of local bike shops that were running programs to recycle old tires and tubes. They never seem to keep running for a long time though, so it strikes me that there's some sort of problem with those, otherwise they'd keep going.

I suppose it's worth asking your LBS?


Green Guru ( greengurugear.com ) takes tubes. If the store also sell the green guru gear they get a discount off the wholesale price and the will alternately pay for the shipping. They have a pretty good price point too. They will pick up anywhere in Colorado and have quite a few places to drop tubes in California and also in Minneapolis and near Charlotte, NC. I think they are in REI and MEC now.


I have a way to repurpose them, but recycling is a hard thing to come by.

Right now its just a local project called Bicycle Re-Cycle, in Austin, TX but open for ideas and poeple willing to help make a difference.

check out http://bicycle-recycle.com/

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.