In honor of America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Arlington-based nonprofit Bikes for the World donated its 100,000th bike for reuse on Saturday, Nov. 15, at a ceremonial loading of the bike into a shipping container headed to a community in Costa Rica. Representatives from KAB, the U.S. EPA and Fundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica), joined Bikes for the World staff and volunteers at the event in Arlington.
“America Recycles Day is about reducing, reusing and recycling,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, KAB. “This is one of the best examples of reuse, because this bike is getting a second life.”
“It really is a perfect example of taking what would be wasted and giving it value through reuse, while at the same time improving people’s lives,” said Charlotte Mooney, associate director resource conservation and sustainability division, U.S. EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, about the project.
The shipment of the donated bike will reach Bikes of the World partner FINCA Costa Rica on Dec. 10. The rural micro-business program will distribute the more than 500 bikes in this shipment to five community-based organizations that recondition and sell them locally,
“This project helps [recipients] have clean and cheap transportation and also allows them to raise money for their community funds that they use to give micro-loans to their members,” said Luis Jimenez, executive director, FINCA Costa Rica.
The partnership, which includes Bikes for the World’s other partnerships in Africa and Asia, improves rural communities not only by providing transportation and micro-loans, but also by creating jobs for those who refurbish the recycled bikes. Thus far, Bikes for the World has donated 20,000 bikes to FINCA Costa Rica alone.
“We’re putting these bikes where they have the most value. I think that’s a particular strength of this program,” said Keith Oberg, Bikes for the World executive director and board member. “We’ll certainly donate 100,000 more.”
(Pictured from left to right): Luis Jimenez, executive director, Fundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica); Charlotte Mooney, associate director resource conservation and sustainability division, U.S. EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery; Brenda Pulley, senior vice president/recycling, Keep America Beautiful; Keith Oberg, executive director, Bikes for the World, at Bikes for the World headquarters in Arlington, Va., on America Recycles Day.