ALCI, The Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland, have won the 2011 Envirocom Award for their role in engaging communities in an environmental project to avert a national waste problem.
Despite recessionary times the countries hedgerows, streets and gardens are littered with abandoned and rusted bikes. Old used bikes, broken children’s bikes, and rusting bike frames are proving an environmental headache. Abandoned bikes present an ugly image on city streets chained to railings and light posts.
Home owners, councils and landscape gardeners all over Ireland are faced with a waste and potential pollution issue. Until recently there appeared no easy, costless or safe way to dispose of an un-wanted bikes other than landfills.
The second hand bike market collapsed when the last Government introduced the tax rebate incentive to purchase a new bike, resulting in 90,000 new bikes now on our roads. The consequence of this well meaning initiative however has created an un-expected problem in a flood of seldom used bikes being dumped or sent to refuge tips.
Thomas Crummy an environmentally conscious landscape contractor decided to lead and trial a new more environmental and socially acceptable solution with his customers and local communities in the West of Ireland.
Thomas decided to collaborate with Bernard Fitzpatrick the founder and patron of the charity “Bikes 4 Africa”. The goal was set to collect and ship used bikes to remote and disadvantaged villages in South Africa. ALCI members in mass joined in the appeal for bikes. ALCI members organised bike collection depots throughout Ireland. There is now a steady supply of used bikes available for shipping to RSA and to other remote African communities.
Two containers of used bikes delivered within the recent 9 months has helped create a cottage industry that now trains and employs villagers to refurbish and sell repaired bikes to their neighbors for a modest return. Over 600 adults and children now cycle to school, work and visit neighbours in other towns etc.
Environmental Social Solution& Support
Turning an environmental problem into a social and economic solution would not have been possible without the generous support received from sponsors like Chain Reaction Cycles NI, ALCI landscape contractors and friends of the “Bikes4Africa” project.
PRESS RELEASE 14-10-2011
Winner of the Envirocom Environmental Awards 2011
Royal Marine Hotel, Dunlaoghaire 13-10-2011
Charity Project “Bikes4Africa”