Express Bike Shop is recognized for helping keep Saint Paul ‘green’ – recycling thousands of bicycles over two decades
Express Bike Shop, a program of Keystone Community Services, was honored on Wednesday, April 22 for its twenty years of leading recycling efforts in the City of Saint Paul and for its work to create a sustainable infrastructure and business model.
“We are excited to be recognized,” said Randy Treichel, Enterprise Director with the Youth Express program of Keystone Community Services, the parent nonprofit of Express Bike Shop. As a social enterprise and youth development initiative, Express Bike Shop takes many bikes, previously sitting idle in garages or fated for the scrap yard, and returns them to productive service. “Bicycles are often considered “hard-to-recycle” items,” said Treichel. “And, for twenty years we’ve had a unique impact on waste reduction: accepting bikes in any condition and converting donated bikes into resale products to support our youth employment program – helping develop the entrepreneurial, work, and leadership potential of young people in Saint Paul. Our mission is two-fold: recycle and sell bikes and provide young people a quality first employment experience.
The sale of refurbished bikes not only contributes to waste reduction directly, but also illustrates Express Bike Shop customers’ thoughtful investment in reducing their own environmental footprint. Treichel estimates that the bike shop has collected and refurbished, re-purposed or recycled more than 20,000 bicycles since opening in 1995. Each year, the bike shop sells between 500 – 600 refurbished bicycles. In addition, 15 – 18 tons of metal are sent to metal recycling and over 3 tons of tires/tubes are sent to rubber recycling.
Express Bike relies on community partners and individuals to donate the 2,000 used bikes needed each year to sustain the operation and expand our apprentice opportunities. “That’s a lot of bikes,” Treichel said with a smile. “We hope the community continues to respond by donating bikes year-round.”
100% of the revenue from the bike shop is reinvested in youth employment programs at Youth Express. In addition to serving the neighborhood as a retail location, the bike shop serves as a learning lab where young people learn the tools of entrepreneurship and workplace success. A “first job” not only brings short-term economic benefits to a young person, it is a powerful developmental milestone that promotes independence, resilience, responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment to carry them into the future. “As we like to say around here, the best work readiness program is a job,” said Education Director, Chris Ohland.
Express Bike Shop is one of 12 recipients of the Sustainable Saint Paul Award presented by Mayor Chris Coleman on April 22, Earth Day. For more information on the details of the awards and the full list of recipients: http://www.stpaul.gov/sustainableawards.