We’ve all heard the old saying “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Not everything can be as easy and throwing a can in the blue bin or reusing a paper bag. Frankly, not everything can even be reused or recycled practical manner. Take an old bicycle inner tube for instance: while it can be used as a tie down strap or to hang tools in the garage, it isn’t really practical, so most of us just chuck them in the trash. Green Guru of Boulder, Colorado is changing the way we think of trash and they are reusing old bicycle inner tubes and neoprene wet suits in their product line.
Green Guru’s business model is based on trash. They collect discarded inner tubes and worn out wetsuits to use as the basis of an extensive line of fashion bags and wallets; bike panniers; backpacks; travel cases; laptop sleeves; and even key chains made from old climbing rope. Over 25 different products make up their line, each product using at least one old piece of used gear. All assembled in America and ranging in price from under $5 to well over $100.
Along with creating new products out of trash, Green Guru has a network of retailers who will actually collect old tubes and wet suits from those individuals not wanting to throw them away. They are certainly not the first company to reuse old bike gear and turn it into a new product, but they are one of the few with a network of collection locations for this old gear. Unfortunately at this time, those retailers collecting old gear are only based in Colorado and California, but these two states have a large number of cyclists so there are certainly plenty of tubes to collect.
Having personally handled the ‘new’ products from Green Guru, I can attest to the quality. Though it may be made from old gear, it certainly does not appear or feel old. The bags that I have examined are top quality and show no noticeable evidence of being used. They look brand new.
It should be noted that though Green Guru labels their products “Made in the U.S.A.”, they technically may not be according to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines. Almost every bicycle inner tube is made in Asia, so the products that use tubes can not be classified as such. The appropriate classification would be “Assembled in the U.S.A.” As for the wet suits, they are some that are U.S. made so it is correct to label those products as “Made in the U.S.A.” if the wet suit was labeled appropriately.
The bottom line is that Green Guru is doing their part to keep a little of our trash from entering the landfill. So whether it is “Made in the U.S.A.” or “Assembled in the U.S.A.”, Green Guru has made the right decision to create a business around “reducing, reusing, recycling.”