May 5th, 2017
Recycle-A-Bicycle: Fostering Job Training, Environmental Education, and Community Engagement
On average, New York City’s Recycle-A-Bicycle salvages 1,800 bicycles each year from the waste stream, diverting a total of 45,000 pounds of waste from the city’s landfills.
In the past year alone, more than 1000 Recycle-A-Bicycle youth collectively refurbished 500 bicycles, pedaled 24,000 miles, and burned 1,750,000 calories.
Recycle-A-Bicycle recycles the metal from donated bikes that are too damaged to use—literally 12,000 of aluminum and steel each year.
The person behind these impressive numbers, Recycle-A-Bicycle Founder and Executive Director Karen Overton, talked recently with the Bard MBA’s Meghan Altman about the organization’s growth and vision.
Overton began her bicycle advocacy career in Mozambique as a planner for Bikes for Africa. When she returned to the US, she took a position with Transportation Alternatives in New York City. That’s where she was when the city’s Department of Sanitation called, looking for a productive way to use the discarded bikes it dealt with daily. Recycle-A-Bicycle was born.
Today, the non-profit is dedicated to the health, development, stewardship and empowerment of NYC youth. It operates innovative youth programs like its Summer Youth Employment Program, Cycle Craft, and Earn-A-Bike. It also runs two storefronts, an education center, and seventeen school-based programs.