Rope recycling: volunteer needed for climbing recycling project

Posted by Ed Douglas on 04/05/2012

The BMC is supporting a pilot project to see if there is a commercial model for recycling climbing ropes and other equipment like helmets and hardware. We're looking for volunteers interested in a career in sustainable business.

Do me a favour and perform a mental audit of your gear. Am I right in thinking you’ve got an old rope stashed away somewhere? Even several? Lurking at the top of my gear cupboard is a pair of thin mountaineering ropes sadly past their prime. And a single 11mm that feels ludicrously thick compared to the one I’m using now.

What to do with all this redundant cordage? It feels wrong somehow to throw it away but there’s only so much room available in one’s castle for all this stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were somewhere I could take my ropes to be recycled? There are some interesting initiatives around for reusing and recycling outdoor stuff, like the Recycle Outdoor Gear project, and Patagonia has set the standard for sustainability in new outdoor clothing.

But what about the ropes, helmets and hardware climbers use?

That question occurred to Dan Firth, a hill walker and climber who has worked in sustainable procurement for various public and private sector bodies as an environmental consultant. When he came to get rid of some old rope, he wondered why it was that no one was offering to take it off his hands. Surely this stuff might be worth something? That’s when he contacted the BMC.

Over the last few months, with the BMC’s encouragement, Dan has been doing some research on whether there might be a business in recycling gear, or perhaps a job or two, which are in short supply right now. From what he’s found out, there are positive signs the idea is worth exploring further, and we now want to help him set up a trial project.

So we’re looking for one or two bright sparks to set up a pilot in the Manchester area to test the viability of a business dedicated to recycling rope and other climbing equipment. It’s an ideal opportunity for a recent graduate looking for experience on how to set up and run a social enterprise and learn about sustainability.

The initial project will last for three months and will be unpaid. In the long run, if the idea works out, the project will be rolled out nation-wide, and there will be a paid-work job after the initial pilot. Any profits will be donated to the BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust.

Interested? Then read the job description and get in touch.
 


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1) Anonymous User
04/05/2012
i will volunteer , THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!

thanks
shaun
2) Anonymous User
08/05/2012
If I can be of any help with this project please contact ROG - http://recycleoutdoorgear.com.
Really happy to help in anyway we can. - Sarah Howcroft
3) Anonymous User
18/05/2012
what is the gear going to be recycled for? Surely not anything safety based - but then most things with Ropes require that the ropes are safe.
4) Anonymous User
18/05/2012
Worth contacting WRAP or Zero Waste Scotland, who may have advice and support to offer for the project. I can give you contacts if it would help. Email me at dgee@papercontracts.co.uk
5) Anonymous User
18/05/2012
THis is a great idea, I have long hated throwing helmets etc away from centres. Ropes are good for teambuilding activity and all sorts of things though so are less of a problem. Good luck!
6) Anonymous User
19/05/2012
Great idea!

I've can picture a few bits of gear in my cupboard now that qualify!
7) Anonymous User
20/05/2012
I think this is a great idea. At present I work for a place and what we do with our old ropes is donate them to zoo's so that they can be used in animal enclosures etc. I understand that this isn't outright recycling, and more like re-using. However it is considerably better than throwing them away.

Just another avenue which mau be worth exploring,

Matt
8) Anonymous User
01/06/2012
Thanks to all of you who have taken time to read the article and voice support. We have now recruited a number of volunteers and held the project kick-off meeting at the BMC headquarters on 31st May. The initial pilot will be based around Manchester but we also have volunteers in London and will be looking to start something there once we have some learning from the Manchester project. We intend providing updates on the BMC website and are looking into using other social media to keep people in touch with what we are doing.

Thanks again for your interest

Dan
9) Anonymous User
17/06/2012
I've given ropes to my neighbour, who works for the Peak Park, for him to use when they chop down trees. They use the ropes to help control where the trees fall
10) Anonymous User
16/01/2013
I have a two sets of 100m rope plus full petzl basic fall arrest kit if interested??

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