Reduce. Re-use. Re-cycle.

Today, we want to share a story about recycling. A story that will fill your heart with joy, and will blow your mind at the scale…

Firstly, the science bit. The United Nations (UN) and World Health Organisation (WHO) both talk at length about the real need for robust ‘reduced waste generation programmes’ to both preserve and protect the world’ diminishing resources and reduce the staggering volume of waste that the world’s ever-growing population generates. 

To reduce the amount of solid waste generated globally, both organisations state that all nations need to follow a three-tiered approach. There are 3 R’s to managing solid waste: Reduce / Reuse / Recycle.

Today we are going to tell you story about the second two Rs…

Three months ago, our friends at the Reseed Charity who we work with in Sierra Leone mentioned there is a real need for road bikes for young female and male athletes there. Reseed work closely with the Lunsar Cycling group there, who you may know from the famous Tour de Lunsar race? They mentioned that they have worked with the Re-Cycle Charity in the UK before, and this group had offered some space in a container bound for Sierra Leone on 7 February, if Reseed could source some bicycles…

We love it when a plan comes together…

A conference call quickly took place between our CEO (Kimberly), Roxanne (CEO of Reseed) and Jeremy (our UK/Europe representative in London, UK). A plan was formed to run a ‘bike amnesty’ campaign in the UK to see if cyclists would donate their unused bicycles. Jeremy has a relationship with a fast-growing affinity group in London called Together We Ride. Together We Ride was happy to help promote the project. In addition the Culture Team at 22Bishopsgate (London’s tallest, most sustainable and iconic office building) offered to be the center for collections. The #22GetherWeRide campaign began…

Four weeks later, the campaign has come to an end. We are most happy to share that several dozen brilliant male and female road bikes have been donated! Jeremy collected them and drove them to Re-Cycle Charity’s staging center in the East of England, to be packed up ready for shipping to Sierra Leone. This is when things got mind-blowing…

The road bikes and kit collected by the #22GetherWeRide campaign 

We had heard of the Re-Cycle Charity’s work over the year’s but had not crossed paths with them that much. We knew about their work in Sierra Leone, but visiting their HQ we discovered they are  change agents: To date, they have shipped over 140,000 bicycles from the UK to their partners in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia and South Africa. This is a truly incredible number! The fact that they also service them to ensure the bicycles are in good working order, and they recycle everything…

Current stock in the huge Re-Cycle Charity warehouse 

The scale of their operation is incredible. The picture above was taken two days ago, and talking to Charlotte Ward (Director) and Mark Pamment (Warehouse Manager) – the energy behind Re-Cycle, this was their warehouse half empty…

Pan-Africa Network

Re-Cycle has built a trusted network of African partners over many years. These are:

The Gambia – Wonder Years of Excellence: WYCE is an NGO based in Madina Salam Village, Kombo South District, West Coast Region the Gambia West Africa. WYCE NGO is local based organisation providing education, Health and livelihood skill services to the underprivileged communities in the Gambia initially in Madina Salam Village.

Ghana – Village Bicycle Project: Village Bicycle Project aims to empower communities by strengthening bicycle culture. Our programs couple quality subsidized bicycles with hands-on maintenance training for new owners.  

Zambia – Care Provider Foundation: Care Provider Foundation (previously Kaloko Trust Zambia) works with local partners and communities to improve access to enough food, water, health, education and income for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, through effective, appropriate and sustainable development projects.

South Africa – Bicycle Empowerment Network: BEN’s overall objective is to promote sustainable social and economic empowerment through the use of bicycles. They do this by ensuring a reliable supply of donated and affordable bicycles to disadvantaged communities and institutions.

Sierra Leone​ – Village Bicycle Project: In Sierra Leone, VBP’s work focuses on bicycles and programs in rural areas as the poverty rate is very high and the opportunity to access bicycles can have a huge positive impact in these rural communities.

The story behind Re-Cycle

Since 1998, Re-Cycle has been shipping second-hand bikes from the UK to their partners and destinations all over Africa. Since 2015 Re-Cycle has occupied a permanent office, warehouse and central collections point a few miles north of Colchester (Essex, UK). It offers over 90 bike drop-off locations nationwide, significantly increasing the number of bicycles that they are able to collect.

A key development was the establishment with Halfords, a long-established and large auto and bike retail chain across the UK. Re-Cycle have been partners with Halfords for over 10 years and their support is invaluable. Halfords use their store network as drop-off locations for bike donors, and then transport them to Re-Cycle’s HQ for distribution. Halfords have supplied over 80,000 bicycles to date.

British Olympic and Road Race legend Sir Chris Boardman is the patron of the Re-Cycle Charity, giving them profile and credibility across the UK.

Charlotte Ward (Director) and Mark Pamment (Warehouse Manager)

How you can help

Re-Cycle, like Team Africa Rising and many other charities/non-profits, rely on the kindness of corporations and the general public to make donations to help fund their work. If you feel like helping Re-Cycle continue to their great work, hit the link below to donate. A simple US$35 donation from you today could help them send a bicycle to Africa.