Riding an eBike is something you can feel good about - once you own one, you can keep it topped up with just a few dollars of electricity every year. It's incredibly low impact and economical compared to other transportation methods, like owning, insuring, and fueling a car.
As with any consumer good, however, "low impact" doesn't mean no impact. Bikes still have to be assembled, packaged, and shipped before they reach you, and typically include cardboard, plastic, styrofoam, and printed paper material. One way you can reduce your impact is by re-using and recycling the packaging that protected your new eBike in transit. Let's take a look at some creative ideas.
Items you can re-use
If your eBike included tools that you no longer need after assembly, consider donating them. We got this idea from Jordan at Bike Labs, a Denago dealer in Mansfield, Texas. Since they assemble many bikes, they have quite a few duplicate tools around the shop.
Donating them to a local cycling advocacy organization keeps them out of the landfill and helps others who need them.
Zip ties can be incredibly useful. Salvage them by cutting as close as possible to the "clamp" mechanism to preserve their length, then set them aside. Zip ties can be used for:
- organizing cable bundles underneath your computer or stereo system.
- making emergency repairs to apparel or gear on the side of the road or trail. Throw a couple in your tool kit.
- keeping your workshop neat and tidy - for example, you can use zip ties to hold bundles of loose spokes together.
Don't forget the most obvious re-use of the exterior cardboard box - re-shipping your eBike in the future! Because the box and styrofoam inserts were custom made for your specific make/model, keeping them on hand if you plan to ship your bike in the future could be a good idea.
Inside the larger exterior box, you'll also find several smaller brown cardboard boxes. They can easily be repurposed for shipping birthday presents or storing Christmas decorations in the attic or basement.
All the brown "craft" cardboard can even be used for composting when it's completely worn out!
Front axle spacer
If your eBike arrived with the front wheel off, the dropouts (the place where the wheel axle will ultimately fit) are protected with a black plastic "dummy axle" - don't throw it away after you install the front wheel. It's useful if you ever need to ship your bike again.
Brake bleed blocks
When a wheel is not installed on an eBike, we want to avoid pulling the brake lever. Doing so could push the brake pads too close together, requiring the rider to manually retract them - a hassle. A plastic brake bleed block is often placed in between the brake pads to prevent this. If the lever is pulled while the wheel is removed, the block prevents the pads from moving too far.
Many riders use these when traveling with their bike, for example, if you remove the front wheel to put your eBike in the trunk of a car. So hang on to them.
Because styrofoam isn't readily recycled, re-use it if possible. We found a few creative uses if you break it down into smaller pieces, including:
- Drainage material for potted plants
- Protective packing peanuts
- Stuff pillows or repair stuffed animals
Items you can recycle
Your eBike was packaged with both external and internal cardboard, which can be recycled in almost every community. If your city or town uses a black bin for trash (landfill) and a blue bin for recycling, you can almost certainly drop all the cardboard in the recycling bin.
Most plastic baggies are recyclable - check for the printed symbol on the baggie.
Paper printed material
Some customers like to use digital / PDF versions of Quick Start Guides and Owner's Manuals. If you don't plan to use the paper versions, drop them in the recycling bin too.
If you need to review them in the future, grab a digital copy from the Denago downloads page.
Some eBike makes and models use large copper staples to close the exterior cardboard box. Others use glue instead. If you've got the staples, they're recyclable too!
Items that go to the landfill
Each Denago eBike ships with some custom-shaped styrofoam pieces that help protect your eBike during shipping. We think it's a great idea to hang onto them in case you need to ship your eBike again in the future.
If you've exhausted the "re-use" ideas above, go ahead and trash it if you must.
What about eBike batteries?
Most high-quality eBike batteries use the Lithium-Ion ("Li-Ion") chemistry. We designed your Denago eBike battery so that it can still hold most of it's original charge even after being re-charged hundreds and hundreds of times! Like any battery, however, it does have a finite lifespan. Eventually, it might be time to replace your eBike's battery to restore the original range and performance. When that time comes, please don't throw the battery in the trash. This type of battery needs to be properly recycled.
In most communities, eBike batteries can be recycled at a local hazardous goods facility. In my town, this is the same place we dispose of unused paint, E-waste (like old computer monitors), and motor oil.
Bike shops also increasingly acting as battery recycling drop-off points, and may safely store your old battery until it can be recycled. Ask around if you're unsure.
Small ideas make a big difference
Thanks for reading these thoughts. We hope they help you make the post of your new Denago eBike upon delivery.