Bicycles are shipped en mass worldwide in colossal cardboard boxes, carefully protected and packed with non-recyclable materials such as zip ties, bubble wrap, cassette protectors and other bits of fodder destined for the landfill. Although small in scale on an individual basis, when you consider the sheer volume of the global supply, those tiny bits of plastic quickly add up and contribute to a much larger environmental issue.
Last year, Trek Bicycles took a considerable step forward in overhauling bike packaging and Bontrager's small accessory products by removing as many plastic parts as possible. Along with Specialized, Trek joined praNa's radical new campaign, the Responsible Packaging Movement, which ask brands from all industries to join them in "eliminating excess packaging waste from our supply chains in a responsible, long-lasting way."
Since overhauling how they packaged bicycles last year, Trek has reportedly saved a massive 433,600 pounds (19.6 tonnes) of plastic from bike boxes and Bontrager accessory packaging. To achieve this staggering amount, Trek reduced 22 non-recyclable pieces to just 12, and they're not stopping there. Their goal is to make all bike boxes from Trek, Electra, and Diamant 100% recyclable and all packaging plastic-free by 2024, so they're off to a pretty good start.
"Paper and cardboard were already present in older packaging iterations but are now our first-choice materials in Trek's packaging," Chris van der Linden, Trek product designer, said. "Furthermore, consumer-facing packaging has completely eliminated plastic laminates from their cardboard packaging, which makes recycling our packaging even easier for customers."
As Trek enter their second year of sustainable reform, they're now focusing on removing zip ties and foam from their packaging altogether.