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I have a titanium frame that failed at the down tube. Consensus among bike shop people and the manufacturer is that it's beyond repair.

Is it economical/worthwhile trying to recycle this amount of titanium? If so, how should I go about doing so? If not, is there a better way to dispose of it than simply throwing it in a landfill site?

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  • If you got a contact with the manufacturer, why not ask them — they certainly have a series of tubes that they need to process somehow? There's apparently only one place in Europe that can recycle titanium (Ecotitanium in France), and given that titanium is not a common metal, it's also possible that it will end up in some kind of waste fraction of normal waste streams.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 7:08
  • @Renaud Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try that. Do you have a reference for there being only one titanium recycler in Europe? That's surprising to me! Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 7:21
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    Titanium isn't weldable and it doesn't melt easily. It is usually made, chemically, and then subtractively machined. There are some initiatives to 3D print it from submicron powder, but it is not very easy. Sadly this makes it ill recyclable.
    – Stian
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 5:51
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    @StianYttervik Titanium is actually pretty weldable. Specifically most titanium bike frames are welded.
    – Therac
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 16:40
  • @zomvid Well, yes. You are right. In a glove box or an inertized chamber, though. Not very practically weldable.
    – Stian
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 19:00

3 Answers 3

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Thanks for thinking about recycling this rather than just doing the easy thing and putting it in the landfill. You could try searching for a metal recycler near you. If they pay you, it might not be a lot, but it would be better than just the landfill. I'd urge people to consider doing this even if they don't pay you, because ti is a useful metal. For example, Leder Brothers is near where I live in the United States, and they say they will purchase scrap titanium (and other specialty metals.)

I'm not sure exactly what keywords to use, however. On Google Maps, the business type for Leder Bros was "Recycling center." "Scrap metal recycling" may also show results. I'm not sure if all metal recyclers will take titanium.

Ti wasn't listed on the website of one other metal recycler I visited, but this one did list Ti. See the other answer for a German term to use, as the OP is likely from Germany.

I should point out one thing - you asked the frame manufacturer about repair options, but I am not sure how many frame manufacturers are set up to repair Ti frames, and bike shops might not know about Ti frame repairers. Single builders might consider it. Ticycles.com explicitly offers repair services. It might still not be economical to repair, but it's something you could consider in addition to trying to recycle.

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  • 5
    Adding to this - there are metal recyclers out there that will take almost anything. I recently brought some scrap steel, and an old radiator to one local to me and it was quick and easy. You might search on "titanium recycling" as well. I found a range of offerings (in the US) that way. You might find one close by in Germany as well.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 16:18
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    "A wrecking yard (Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian English), scrapyard (Irish, British and New Zealand English) or junkyard (American English) is the location of a business in dismantling where wrecked or decommissioned vehicles are brought, their usable parts are sold for use in operating vehicles, while the unusable metal parts, known as scrap metal parts, are sold to metal-recycling companies. ... Other terms include wreck yard, wrecker's yard, salvage yard, breaker's yard, dismantler and scrapheap."
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:28
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    In AME, scrapyard is where they have a scale to weigh your vehicle with the junk in it, and then w/o it, and pays you. A junkyard just does whole cars and sells parts. If all you want is it recycled, put in the alley and someone will take it where they can get a few bucks for it.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:29
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In Germany I would search for the keyword 'Wertstoffhof'. For example this one is near Munich, where OP is from according to their profile. They will take any trash/ waste in household quantities and have much finer sorting for various materials that can be recycled. They will definitely have specialty metal bins, if you ask them they might have something special for titanium as well. Note they will not pay you (nor charge you for taking your trash) but they should be a good bet to get your titanium into recycling.

Edit: Some background for non-Germans what a Wertstoffhof ist. Most household trash will be collected at home and there are a couple of separate bins (paper, plastic, glass, organic, everything else). A few things shouldn't be thrown into the common trash (old paint, large electronic items) and a few are too big (furniture). These things should be brought to a Wertstoffhof. They will have separate containers for all kinds of things and will dispose of them in whatever way is most appropriate. This often means recycling and that should be the solution for metals items like a titanium bike frame.

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  • Google Translate gives the meaning of recycling center. Is that accurate? Also, do you know of any possible German synonyms or other regional names? In my answer, I have clarified that I’m in the US.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 11:22
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    "Unlike waste, scrap has monetary value, especially recovered metals, and non-metallic materials are also recovered for recycling." ... "Scrapping redirects here. Not to be confused with scraping. Scrap metal redirects here. For other uses, see Scrap Metal"
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:39
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    Wertstoffhof may be specifically Bavarian. In Baden-Württemberg we call it a Recylinghof. Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 13:53
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    @MartinBonnersupportsMonica I think it's rather each city may call it differently. Where I live (in Baden-Württemberg) it's called "Entsorgungszentrum" but I know of another city close by where it is also called "Wertstoffhof".
    – luator
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 14:34
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    @luator ... or in my case Kreis. (My nearest city is probably Basel, then Zürich, then Freiburg.) Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 14:54
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Titanium is an uncommon metal.

You might consider listing it on ebay or similar, with a clear title of
"SCRAP TITANIUM BIKE FRAME" and "not repairable, for use as stock in a metal project".

The other advantages here is someone else gets to acquire something they want and can use, AND that they have to come get it - you don't need to take the dead bike anywhere.

If the bolts in the bike are also titanium, consider saving them for your own reuse.

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    This. Titanium tubes can be very useful in hobby projects. It's resistant to corrosion, fire, and mechanical forces, all at fairly low weight. Not too hard to work with either.
    – Therac
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 16:35

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