From dump to donation: How the Trans-Jordan Landfill saves bikes and benefits those in need
Feb 14, 2017 12:41PM ● Published by Briana Kelley
Trans-Jordan Landfill collected more than 80 bicycles on Memorial Day weekend 2016. These were later donated to the nonprofit organization Bicycle Collective. (Mark Hooyer/Trans-Jordan Landfill)
Gallery: From dump to donation: How the Trans-Jordan Landfill saves bikes and benefits those in need [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
Trans-Jordan Landfill has forged an unlikely partnership with local nonprofit organization Bicycle Collective. The landfill saves and donates dumped bicycles to Bicycle Collective, which then recycles and repairs the bicycles and gifts them to those in need. Trans-Jordan has given 488 bikes to Bicycle Collective since the project began in May 2016.
“Saving bicycles—this is one thing that we could do something about,” said Mark Hooyer, executive director of Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill. “We all have a general astonishment that so many perfectly useful things are thrown away in our culture. Here, though, we could reuse and find a new life for bicycles other than burying it in the landfill.”
Hooyer said the amount of bicycles being thrown away first caught his attention when he was director at Trans-Jordan. An avid cyclist, Hooyer decided to conduct an experiment. He had staff pull out bikes from loads being dumped over Memorial Day weekend in 2016. They collected more than 80 bicycles in two days, a number that “fairly astonished” Hooyer and his staff.
That same week, Hooyer took his daughter’s bicycle to the Bicycle Collective, a nonprofit organization that provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to the community, focusing on children and lower-income households. As Hooyer learned about the Bicycle Collective’s services and needs, he felt it would be a good fit for the bicycles the Trans-Jordan staff had collected at the landfill.
“This was the a-hah moment,” Hooyer said. “Here was a business worthy enough and capable enough to receive all of the bicycles we were collecting.”
Trans-Jordan, which is a public facility, moved duly through the proper processes and soon entered into a non-financial contract with Bicycle Collective. Trans-Jordan tracks the number of bicycles and pounds of bicycles that they donate, and the nonprofit makes monthly pick-ups.
Bicycle Collective refurbishes the bicycles for nominal resale and charity purposes. For bicycles too damaged to repair, they use needed parts and pieces and then recycle the unused parts.
“We get a lot of children’s bikes from Trans-Jordan,” said Sam Warrick, Bicycle Collective Salt Lake City operations manager. “There are a lot of bikes that we turn into goodwill bikes, which are bikes that we provide to people in need through various government agencies and charities.”
Bicycle Collective began locally in 2002 and now has bike shops in Salt Lake, Ogden and Provo. The organization provides bicycle repair, bicycle mechanic courses, and certifications and frame-building courses. The Collective also has Earn-A-Bike program for kids and distributes free bikes to the neediest members of the community, according to its website.
“We’re funded primarily by in-kind donations,” Warrick said. “The used bikes that are donated to us, we either sell them to fund our programs or directly donate them to children in need or adults in financial need.”
Residents who are interested in participating can donate used bicycles to the Trans-Jordan Landfill or directly to Bicycle Collective. Those who could benefit from the Collective’s services can contact Sam Warrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or Volunteer Coordinator Matt Woodman at email@example.com. Residents can also visit the website www.bicyclecollective.org/ for more information.
Trans-Jordan also has other programs in place to re-direct and recycle waste. The landfill has a Public Convenience Center (PCC) that recycles helmets and car seats and donates clothing to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Utah.
Trans-Jordan does not charge for hazardous waste and has a reuse shed that offers items free to the public, including paint, stains, cleaners, automotive products and pesticides. Trans-Jordan likewise does not charge for loads that are fully recyclable, such as cardboard, aluminum, steel, glass, electronic waste, carpet pads and batteries. For more information on its recycling programs, visit transjordan.org/services/.
Any items that arrive on a garbage truck or loads that go down to the landfill cell, however, are not recovered for recycling or reuse with the exception of large metal appliances and tires.
Hooyer said these sustainable practices “give our cities and the community that we serve comfort to know that when they no longer use something that is recyclable it’s not scrapped, but it is reused by others in communities in Utah.”