The six R’s of sustainability

Have you ever heard that in Sustainability practice Recycling is the last resort even though it is the most talked about and that there are now six Rs now? Some even say nine!  At Yellow Bike we take a holistic approach to sustainability that involves all 6 of them:


In an age of climate crisis and the need for social justice, we work hard to rethink our place here. It starts with promoting the bicycle as a better and more sustainable and equitable way to get around to building a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals around the power of bicycles to make a better world. The production of our famous ‘yellow bikes’ (between 1997 and 2013) created Austin’s first bike share program. We stopped their production one year before the introduction of the official City bike-share in 2014, as a declaration of victory, when our ‘radical idea’ had become mainstream.


Bicycles are a powerful solution to transition away from our high carbon energy patterns and use fossil fuels only when necessary. Don’t get us wrong, Yellow Bike even has a truck to move bikes and make recycling runs, but we think it is important that people have lower-impact choices when they need to get around.


We think critically about everything we have to buy and ways to reduce our footprint including making our own bulk chain lube to power our shop with solar power and minimally running our climate control systems*. Our retail shop is stocked with quality repaired and used parts and a limited amount of new part essentials like tires, locks, and lights to keep people rolling

Reuse & Repair

This is the heart of Yellow Bike’s operations taking donated bikes and parts and getting them back on the streets of Austin through hard working staff and trained volunteers that bring these bikes back to life. In 2022 we refurbished 897 bikes; 504 of which were given away through our donation programs: 190 bikes were delivered to adult individuals from vulnerable communities (refugees, immigrants, people experiencing homelessness and other difficult life transitions) and 308 of kids’ bikes were given to children through our donation programs, such us: Back To School, Holiday Kids Bike Giveaway and through our regular partnerships with schools and other community partners. Additional 393 bikes were refurbished and sold to support the mission of our organization.


For every bike and part that we can’t reuse and repair, we are careful to divert as much of this material from the landfill. In 2022, we recycled: 16,760 lbs of steel; 4,340 lbs of aluminum, and 3,450 lbs of rubber. This means that through following the sustainability practice of 6R, in 2022 only, we diverted almost 18 tons from landfills.