Reynolds Technology Publishes Environmental Impact Study
Reynolds Technology, the UK-based manufacturer of metallic bicycle tubing, has published the findings of its first Environmental Impact Study.
The study is the end result of a thorough review of Reynoldâs manufacturing operation, with the purpose of better understanding its own carbon footprint and helping frame builders and customers to assess the environmental impacts of their bikes.
Published on Reynolds’ ownÂ website and available to download, the study aims to quantify the belief that steel is an excellent and sustainable choice for bicycle manufacturers.
Reynoldsâ General Manager Martin Shepherd saidÂ âIt would be easy to just say that bikes are good and are a solution to the climate crisis, but this study enables us to look inside the business to make improvements and to keep reducing our impact. By bringing our carbon footprint into the decisions we make, both daily and long-term, we can do our bit to make cycling even kinder to the world we live inâ.
The benefits of steel and titanium are, Reynolds say, well documented. The materials are inherently durable, long-lasting, easily repairable and straightforward to recycle. Steel is suitable for all cycling disciplines, from urban mobility to elite racing, and stainless steel and titanium donât require painting, reducing environmental impact even further.
But, says Reynolds, it’s not enough to simply âbelieveâ in the material and true to its tagline âthereâs power in numbersâÂ sought a deeper understanding of the impact of its manufacturing impacts.
The key findings of the study are:
Not all steel frames are created equal.Â Ferrous steel frames produce the lowest carbon emissions during manufacture, followed by titanium, followed by stainless steel. A conventional âdouble diamondâ ferrous steel frame produces 17.2kg CO2e, titanium 53.92kg and stainless 59.44kg.
Airfreighting goodsÂ to and from Reynolds is the manufacturerâs biggest environmental impact, which has been worsened by logistical challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Reynolds will be working with suppliers and customers to improve planning and avoid airfreight.
Global travelÂ represents the majority of Reynoldsâ non-production CO2 generation. With staff often travelling overseas for trade shows and meetings, thereâs a significant opportunity to improve by minimising trips, making better use of remote-meeting technology, and enhancing the role of local distributors.
Factory improvementsÂ present another significant opportunity for emissions reductions. With a 50-year-old factory, Reynolds can make relatively simple improvements by better insulating the factory and reducing the use of gas heating during the winter.
An existingÂ near zero-landfill approachÂ means that Reynoldâs sends almost nothing to landfill, made possible through the use of recyclable packaging, minimal plastic use and a state-of-the-art waste collection service.
The study has also confirmed that all of Reynoldsâ steel comes fromÂ 100% recycled materials, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process.
In completing the study, Reynolds acknowledges that it is the first step in an ongoing process. The report will continue to be updated and refined as time goes on and, as Shepherd statesÂ âwe want to continue the work, both measuring the improvements we make to Reynolds, but also to get better data to reduce the margin of error on the published numbers. It is the start of the journey for Reynolds, not the endâ.
Shepherd addsÂ âWeâre already using the study to influence planning and decision making, starting with a commitment to better insulate our factory and reduce our use of air freight. Itâs an active agenda for change, not just a report to stick on the website and feel virtuous aboutâ.
Reynolds Technology is based in Birmingham, England and was founded in 1898 by John Reynolds. Reynolds was the first company to patent the butted and double-butted tube and has spent the last 124 years manufacturing high-qualityÂ bicycle tubing that helps manufacturers and cyclists push the boundaries of performance.
You can read theÂ Reynolds Environmental Impact Study here.