UK wheel brand Scribe has introduced a ‘Re-Gen’ programme aimed at incentivising customers to trade in carbon road bike wheels, instead of committing them to landfill (usually following a several year hoarding spell in the garage/loft).
The Northern Island-based brand founded by former Prime and Hunt wheels product manager, Alan Graham, is offering up to 40 percent off new wheels for those who trade in an old pair.
Discounts vary depending upon the length of ownership; wheels over 36 months old are eligible for a 10 percent discount.
Wheels will either be refurbished to be sold on a dedicated eBay channel, or recycled if they don't meet safety checks.
Scribe says it is aiming towards a ‘circular economy'. This alternative to the ‘linear economy’ is often elevated by sustainability experts as the ideal situation, it means consumers use products, then pass them on to be recovered and regenerated for the foreseeable future, as opposed to the product being produced and eventually becoming waste.
Bike hire schemes - where users loan a bike and return it to be refurbished for the next rider once they're finished with it - are the most common cycling related example of a circular economy working effectively.
The discounts only applies when trading in a Scribe wheelset to purchase another set from the same brand, as the programme is specific to the products and materials made by the manufacturer.
Scribe is calling this its “first step on the sustainability ladder” and “an initiative that we hope can inspire positive change.”
Scribe can only offer this service on carbon wheels. It says that each wheelset will be put through rigorous safety checks, before being refurbished in house. They’ll then be available to buy at Scribe’s Re-Gen ebay store, alongside a 12-month warranty.
Any returned wheels which do not meet the brand’s safety checks will be dismantled with any unusable parts sent for recycling.
Rim brake carbon wheels are more susceptible to obsolescence, as the brake track wears down over time. Asked how Scribe will address this, Graham told us: “For carbon rims (rim brake), once we get these back, we'll thoroughly QC check the rim wear. If the wear isn't significant, we'll fully refurbish the wheelset and sell these through our Re-Gen ebay store.”
Since the wheelset will already have had its life span shortened by prior use, Graham added: “these will have a shorter life than brand new rims.”
Of course, not all rims will pass quality control checks, Graham told us: “[in this instance] we will replace the complete rim and this upgraded wheelset will be sold via our eBay channel. The worn rims will be recycled through one of our carbon composite partners.”
Regarding restriction of the programme to carbon rims only, Scribe said: “Unlike alloy, carbon is an incredibly difficult material to recycle but in the last few years, recycling companies have developed innovative ways to break down the carbon fibre properties while keeping the strands intact. We are investing time and effort in creating strong partnerships with composite recycling companies to ensure Scribe continue to be innovative and show there is another, more sustainable way.”
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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