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February 21, 2023

Two New Sustainability Benefits for PeopleForBikes Members

By: PeopleForBikes Staff

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Introducing the industry’s first comprehensive Sustainable Packaging Guide and Chemicals Management Memo.

Consisting of 80 members across more than 40 bike industry brands, PeopleForBikes’ Sustainability Working Group (SWG) was founded in 2020 on the idea of industry collaboration. The goal of the group is to advance tactical initiatives to achieve environmental, health, and corporate sustainability goals for the bike industry. 

“This work is crucial to the longevity of the bike industry. We need a clean planet with fun and healthy places to ride. Also, from a business lens, today’s customers care about the planet and align their purchases with companies who take genuine action,” said JJ Trout, PeopleForBikes’ chief of staff, on why she helped the industry form the working group. 

Past key achievements of the SWG include the endorsement of the U.S.’s first nationwide electric bicycle battery recycling program, which is powered by Call2Recycle and launched in 2021. In 2022, the SWG set its sights on creating the industry’s first comprehensive Sustainable Packaging Guide and Chemicals Management Memo

“As we see more packaging legislation and chemicals regulations, these two new member benefits will support companies in providing resources and ideas to improve their packaging and understanding of chemical regulations as they relate to specific products,” said Ashley Seaward, PeopleForBikes’ deputy director of state and local policy.

The Sustainable Packaging Guide was produced by a subset of members of PeopleForBikes Sustainability Working Group who provided extra time and expertise to get the project across the finish line. These members included: A New Earth Project, Alta North America, BikeCo, Burley, Cycling Sports Group, Giant Bicycles, Nuun, PEARL iZUMi, Presca, Quality Bicycle Products, REI Co-op, Specialized Bicycle Components, SRAM, Tern Bicycles, Trek Bicycle, VAAST, WTB, Yakima, and YFY Jupiter. PeopleForBikes would also like to give a special thanks to Christian van der Linden, sustainability consultant and designer; Brook Hopper, director of business development and communications at A New Earth Project; and Eric Abraham, senior director packaging innovation and sustainability at YFY Jupiter, for their dedication to this project. Its creation would have not been possible without each individual company coming together to provide time, resources, and knowledge to move our industry forward. 

The guide not only outlines why it’s important for  companies to invest in sustainable packaging but also provides resources and advice for organizations both big and small as they begin their sustainable packaging journey. Additionally, the guide includes answers to frequently asked questions about sustainable packaging and outlines questions all companies should ask when evaluating their current packaging supply. Taken as a whole, the Sustainable Packaging Guide breaks down barriers and offers sustainable solutions to some of the most prominent packaging issues that affect our industry. 

“The chance to help create this guide was a privilege,” said van der Linden, noting how rare it is to have so many competing brands work together to build something greater than the individual. “Hopefully, the existence of this guide brings the industry together on other sustainability issues where lessons learned in packaging can be applied to build greater circularity elsewhere. At the end of the day, we all ride our bikes on the same planet — that's more than enough reason to work with each other.”

“I was very impressed by the thorough engagement and spirit of collaboration that emerged during the development of these industry wide sustainable packaging guidelines,” said Hopper. “It’s about all of us working together, that’s the only way we’ll really be able to move the needle.”

The Chemicals Management Memo was produced by the SWG’s Chemical Management Track, comprised of 20 bicycle industry brands and currently led by Travis Meikle, a product compliance engineer and dangerous goods product manager at Trek Bicycle Corporation (it was formerly co-led by Sara Beach, product safety manager at Quality Bicycle Products). A special thank you to the co-leads for creating the guide from member feedback and to ACT Lab for providing the basic chemicals guide, linked within the memo. The purpose of the memo is to provide the bike industry an overview of chemical regulations and offer insight on how to best approach sustainable options. 

“Having PFB's Sustainability Working Group shine a light on new chemical regulations is incredibly beneficial for our industry," said Meikle. "For an international company like Trek, there's always something going on, whether that's France introducing new laws or five new chemicals being added to the Toxic Substances Control Act in 2022 alone. In an ever-changing landscape, it helps to have industry collaboration." 

If your company is not already a member of the SWG, it is never too late to join. By supporting collective projects like these, we can all work together to improve sustainability efforts industrywide. If you are interested in joining the SWG, please email Ashley Seaward, PeopleForBikes’ deputy director of state and local policy.

PeopleForBikes Coalition Members can find these new resources in the PeopleForBikes’ member center. Not a member? Please contact Rod Judd, PeopleForBikes’ director of membership and industry engagement for more information.

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