Can you imagine a time when raw materials are so scarce and costly that it is no longer viable to make new bicycles?
Manufacturing everywhere is based on taking raw materials, turning them into products and when they are finished with, throwing them away. This is wasteful and unsustainable and it has to change. There must be a better way.
Rethinking the way bicycles will be made and supplied in the future
Ownership as we know it will become a thing of the past. Bicycles will be rented to the user, then when they are finished with, they will be returned to the factory, refurbished and rented to another rider. This will prevent precious raw materials going into landfill.
We will have to make bikes that last for much longer than they do now so that we can rent them for as long as possible. The bicycles will be designed so that when they finally reach the end of their lives, all raw materials can be separated and reused. This is known as a “closed loop” or “circular” supply chain.
Nothing will go into landfill, indeed, it’s anticipated that raw materials will become so precious that businesses and governments will begin mining our landfill sites later this century to recover what was thrown away in the last.
Natural reserves won’t last forever
The way in which almost all goods are manufactured and supplied is based on a linear or ‘take, make and dispose’ model. This results in enormous waste and consumption of precious raw materials at every stage of the process; from extraction and processing through to their manufacture into products, sale and disposal. This can’t continue indefinitely.
The largest populations of our planet lie within the developing nations and are experiencing a dramatic cultural shift from self-supporting agriculture to urban factory work. Trading with the west has fueled their economic growth, as wages and prosperity have increased, so has the demand for consumer items such as mobile phones, appliances and cars. While this increased prosperity and rise in living standards is to be celebrated, the net result is an increasing consumption of our planet’s limited resources and raw materials. In short, there are not sufficient global resources to continue to feed the rapidly rising demands of the world’s population.
We are committed to transitioning to a circular supply chain and hope that by leading the way others will follow. We therefore intend for the Imagine Project to be open source and will be inviting contributions and sharing our discoveries as the project grows and develops.