When you blew that inner tube on your last mountain bike ride, and took it to the shop for replacement, that old tube may have found a new life porting someone’s laptop to the office, or keeping their pants from falling down.
Seattle’s Alchemy Goods collects worn out and blown out inner tubes from bike shops around the country, then “upcycles” them into durable, water resistant and nearly indestructible messenger bags, backpacks, laptop bags, wallets and belts. So far they’ve saved more than 182,000 inner tubes from landfills and counting.
Donated tubes are inspected for defects, then are cut open, washed and stitched together, leaving the unique patches, logos, stamps and textures intact to give each finished product its own individual look. Shoulder straps for the bags are made from old seat belts found at local junkyards.
And nothing goes to waste at Alchemy Goods. The air valves from the inner tubes become zipper pulls, and their Bottle ReOpener was previously the steel buckle attached to the seat belts they use, finding new life popping tops on your post ride beverage.
Even old billboards find new use, turned into their Ad Bag, a reinforced vinyl mesh tote with a reinforced bottom, large enough and strong enough to haul 30 cans of your favorite drink to the finish line, now that it’s no longer needed to hype used car lots or personal injury law firms.
And if you’re wondering just how much of your new Alchemy Goods bag is made from recycled materials, there’s a number embroidered in top corner of their logo on the bag. That’s the percentage of recycled materials used to make that product. (You can also check the upcycled content amount on the site before you buy, too.)
So the next time you blow a tube bombing down the mountain, don’t look at it as a ride ruined… look at it as being one step closer to a new bag.
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