The Global Problem of Abandoned Bicycles in 2023 | Key Statistics and Actionable Steps to Reduce Waste
Its an age old problem which has been plaguing cities around the globe. Abandoned bicycles. We see at least 1 every day and are so familiar with the sight that it doesn't even appear like a problem. Take a moment to consider these facts from Statista.
Bicycles are being Abandoned Around the World
Image Credit: Pew
Even in countries like the Netherlands and cities like Amsterdam, the city council faces similar problems with abandoned bicycles due to our toxic consumerist culture. As long as there are humans, this problem will persist unless more humans are able to change their mindset about waste and consumerism.
Key Statistics on Bicycle Production and Abandoned Bicycles
364,000 bicycles are produced daily.
That’s 15,000 per hour, or 253 a minute, or 4 bikes a second. in the time you've taken to read this article, at least 2 or 3 hundred, that's right- HUNDRED new bicycles would have entered this world
- 47 670 bicycles are being sold daily. Yes, every two seconds, someone will buy a bicycle. That's about every time your heart beats.
- Every 19th person in the world buys a bicycle each year. That's every other person in your primary school class.
- The production numbers for bicycles are 2.5x higher than for cars.
- Around 15 million bicycles end up discarded by their owners every year, according to gotjunk.com. Unfortunately, a large number of these bicycles end up in landfills. That's just not good for the planet and for the human race.
That means that on top of the bicycles which are accounted for and disposed of, an additional 117 million bicycles are leaving the assembly line each year. How is this possible and how is it sustainable?
The Solution to the problem of Orphaned Bicycles
What we need is a change of mindset and a change of culture. We need to improve bicycle culture beyond just that of sport and try to foster a circular economy, just as the wheels of our bikes turn round, the way we consume has to be circular as well.
We started project up-cycle for this very reason. To reduce waste here in Singapore and to give bikes a new lease of life. Old is gold, and more often than not one man's trash is another person's pot of gold. It is tedious to refurbish and revitalise these old bikes, but doing this reduces the amount of waste on our planet and allows people to enjoy bikes that are often restored to or even better than their former glory.
We have to teach our younger generation not to waste and engage in toxic consumerism. Use something that is of quality and this includes bikes. Repair instead of throwing and buying a new bike.
Sharing the love for vintage and older bikes
Riding an older bike can be awesome. You know the saying "they don't make it like they used to? This is really true of bikes as well. By sharing your passion for older models of bikes, you can encourage more around you to get an up-cycled bike instead.
How many orphaned bicycles are there in Singapore?
Back to Singapore (as we are a Singapore Based Bike Brand). Thanks for the data Town Council! In Tampines, sources show that an average of 2.3 derelict bicycles per HDB block were found during a 1 month period from 8th July to 15th August 2008. This is miniscule and only applicable to Tampines which is already the cycling capital of Singapore.
However, it does allow us a glimpse at what the HDB is facing throughout the nation. If we consider the number of HDB blocks in Singapore as of 2021 at 1.09 million. It reveals the scale of the issue, we don't event need to explain further. Let alone, these are only HDB blocks and we haven't even reached the MRT Station. Singapore is a tiny speck in this vast world but for a country as small as ours to facing this issue, one can only imagine the scale globally.
Why you should care about abandoned bicycles
Simply put, it affects you as much as it affects the next person. Nobody likes walking pass a piece of trash that is slowly rotting in the rain. It is unsightly and ruins your day ever so slightly. The same can be said about an abandoned bicycle. Furthermore, abandoned bicycles are bad for the environment as it is a piece of the pie that makes up our collective waste. We all feel the earth getting hotter, at times to almost unbearable levels. Participating in this culture of waste will only make it worst. While this problem that humanity is facing extends well beyond bicycles, we like to think that bicycles are as good a place as any other to start taking on this gargantuan problem.
A bicycle is a vehicle of joy and it should not be laid to rest in a graveyard of bicycles (and other junk), when it can be restored given the proper attention care and love (and quality components). We pride ourselves in our craftsmanship to take old frames and components and giving them a second lease of life such they they often feel better than riding new bicycles because these bicycles carry a story and a legacy with them.
Our Bicycle Philosophy
As a business that is focused on a cycling driven lifestyle, we believe in everything cycling. This includes getting around by bicycle. Enjoying cycling. Also, it includes, recycling and up-cycling. Literally. This is because everything comes in cycles and we should do our part to protect these cycles. This leads us to an opportune time to share more about our project for up-cycling bicycles.
In line with our goal of getting more people on bicycles for their daily commutes and focusing on our capability to restore bicycles, Project Up-Cycle is all about turning one man's trash into another's treasure. We accept donations of old and abandoned bicycles so we can give them a second life. This in turn not only reduces waste but brings us as a nation closer to our goals of going green.
The Circular Economy and the Unspoken Bicycle Movement
Here at Unspokin we believe in making old things new again. The future is a circular economy and our wheels are headed in that direction. We currently, as a human race take from mother Earth. We make products from the ground and throw them away as waste way before their lifespan is over. We don't doubt the this process goes in a straight line. However, this same process can be circular. If we stop the waste being produced in the first place by eliminating waste and pollution, circulating our "waste products and materials" and regenerate nature. Together, we can become part of a resilient self regenerating system that is good for you, mother nature and mankind.
If you have a project that you're working on to make an old bicycle new, please share in the comments below. Join the Unspokin movement today!