Trek: Trek’s carbon recycling program keeps 70,000 lbs. of carbon from landfills in first year

02/05/2012By James Collins

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  • Industry-first program closes loop on lifecycle of space-age material

(Waterloo, WI) - One year after piloting the bike industry’s first carbon fiber recycling program, Trek Bicycle, in partnership with Materials Innovation Technologies is proud to announce that over 70,000 lbs. of carbon fiber have been recycled from its domestic manufacturing facility in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Since April of 2011, all manufacturing scraps, non-compliant frame components, and select reclaimed warranty frames undergo processing at Material Innovation Technologies’ South Carolina facility for repurposing in reinforced thermoplastic applications, including aerospace, automotive, medical and recreational applications.

“We’re really proud of the results that we have had in just one year,” said Trek’s Senior Composites Manufacturing Engineer Jim Colegrove. “Now that carbon has become such a commonly used material in cycling, it’s important for all brands to consider the entire life cycle of a product.”

Trek began manufacturing their OCLV-carbon frames in 1992 and has since grown into a world leader in carbon technology, developing road and mountain bike frames from the space-age material. The recycling program closes the loop on the life cycle of one of modern engineering’s most ubiquitous and complex materials.

The carbon recycling program is one of many sustainable efforts Trek has embarked on including, but not limited to, recycled aftermarket product packaging for the Bontrager brand, sourcing frames and components from neighboring factories to reduce shipping emissions, and converting their Waterloo, WI facility entirely to wind power.