Example – functional unit for recycled bicycles

Generic product, activity or name

Bike, recycled bicycle

Context and background
Bicycles collected as lost property in Denmark are today disposed of as scrap metal and recycled by re-melting. Baisikeli ApS instead sends bikes to Mozambique where they are made ready for sale and sold locally. Thereby the bikes replace less durable new bikes, mainly manufactured in India. The purpose of the LCA (climate footprint) is to assess CO2 savings by recycling bikes in Mozambique relative to re-melt them in Europe.

Presentation of example
The assessment is made on 8000 second-hand bikes, which is the average annual amount of lost property bikes that are sent to scrap from the Copenhagen area. A little more than 1/4 of the lost property bikes are in so bad condition that they cannot be re-used, so the 8000 lost property bikes correspond to a recycled amount of 5800 bicycles.

The functional unit was defined as ”17’400 years of bicycle use in Chimoio, Mozambique, corresponding to 5800 bicycles delivered in salable condition in Chimoio, Mozambique, with an estimated lifetime of 3 years (5800 * 3 years = 17’400 years).”

This functional unit thus captures the final function delivered, including the location, the durability of the bikes and the annual size of the expected operation.

lost property bicycles

Photo: Lost bikes collected on Funen, Denmark. Photocredits Fyns Politi.

Information sources used
Information on the amount of lost property bicycles were from Baisikeli ApS (pers. comm.) and Baisikeli annual accounts 2012.

Weidema B P (2013) Klima-fodaftryk for genbrug af hittegodscykler – Carbon footprint for Baisikeli’s genbrugsprojekt i Mozambique. 2.-0 LCA consultants, Aalborg, Denmark. http://www.lca-net.com/files/baisikeli_report.pdf

Author of this example
Bo Weidema


How to reference this
Weidema B P (2014), Example –functional unit for recycled bicycles. Version: 2013-12-26 www.consequential-lca.org