Green Tuesday — Recycletron 1000 Hits the Streets!

Green Tuesday has come a bit early here at…I was going to wait to publish this, but I just can’t stand the suspense!

Now that my child is back in school, I’ve got a little bit of daylight “free time” on my hands. Sometimes I go for a long bike ride, and sometimes I like to just cruise around the neighborhoods at an easy pace.

During my commutes and other bike rides, I’ve become painfully aware of the overwhelming litter issue on and around the streets of Tampa. What particularly catches my eye are all the recycleable items — bottles of plastic and glass, cans of both steel and aluminum.

Well, I got an idea about a month ago — why not combine these neighborhood “joyrides” with some community improvement? Xtracycle to the rescue!

By pulling the bag straps all the way out to their full length, I was able to strap two standard City of Tampa blue recycling bins to the Xtra:

Recycletron 1000

I call this assembly “Recycletron 1000” — it makes the bike really wide, so I can’t “thread the needle” as much as I’m used to. No matter…the streets I hit were quiet and low-traffic, and I was careful to give myself extra clearance to either side.

I wonder if Xtracycle had thought of such a use, because I discovered as I strapped the bins on, the molded corner slots on the bin mated perfectly with the front and rear FreeLoader straps. Once everything was cinched up, this assembly was rock-solid!

corner slots

I spent about an hour of stop-n-go riding around the southern part of our neighborhood district…all told, less than 3 miles or so. In that time, I nearly filled both bins, and I’m sure I didn’t spot every recycleable item! There’s a practical limit, bulk-wise…if the bins are “too” full, items tend to jump out over bumps. I determined that the practical load limit is about 3/4 full. Weight was not an issue whatsoever…the full load in both bins weighed about 40 lbs.

The motherload:

Look, it’s like this: if you want to improve your community, you’ve got to be willing to get out there and get your hands dirty. I derived IMMENSE satisfaction of making a small difference in my community, and I am looking forward to the next run. The city is so littered that I could cover some serious miles every day and not get all the recycleables, but dang it, I’m gonna try!!!

I’d like to say a special “thank you” to Mayor Pam Iorio’s office and the City of Tampa Solid Waste/Recycling department for helping me get extra bins. I promise I’ll put them to good use!


  1. Eric August 25, 2008 6:58 am 

    And I thought I was a hippie, Jack.

  2. Gene August 25, 2008 7:46 am 

    You are awesome.

  3. Iron Man August 25, 2008 8:59 am 

    Well Green Tuesday or not who likes litter in their town? Good going Ghost. I’ll step up my efforts as well. I have a lot of farm roads in my area and it’s amazing how many beer dumps I find. It’s generally the box from a 24 pack and then the 24 cans or so within a six foot radius. High School kids most likely? Pretty scary if you like to do night rides on the weekends.

  4. 2whls3spds August 25, 2008 9:27 am 

    My private road comes out on one of the main roads that leads to the county dump. I could fill both of those bins without ever leaving the drive way….
    But regardless…good going, and good stewardship. I always try to accumulate a few recyclables when I ride. Typically clean up the area where I take my roadside breaks.


  5. climbinskier August 25, 2008 11:33 am 

    That is beautiful! Do you have one of those long litter pinchers to get the litter without getting off the bike (and also maybe without having to stop)? I bet you could rig something up and send your efficiency through the roof!

  6. Ghost Rider August 25, 2008 11:46 am 

    I totally need one of those extension-grabbers. How it worked without it is that I would park, walk a stretch and pick up stuff and then ride a bit more. Or stop over said recycleable and pick it up. If I had a “grabbie”, I’d look like a professional “can man”!!!

  7. Marla August 25, 2008 12:36 pm 

    Great idea! I’m so close to getting an Xtracycle, and now I have another idea to use it for. Thanks, Jack!

  8. Johnny August 25, 2008 1:03 pm 

    That’s awesome! But what’s at least as awesome as toting that many recyclables by bike is the name:)

  9. Ghost Rider August 25, 2008 1:09 pm 

    Marla, pull the trigger – you won’t regret it!

    Thanks, Johnny…I’ve been bandying about a name for this rig since I built it, and our friend Val already took the really cool one (“Dreadnought”). But, I had an inspiration once the bins were strapped on, and it is a perfect name!

  10. siouxgeonz August 25, 2008 2:43 pm 

    I’ve lost track of the tiems something “just fit right” with my Xtra, including stuffing it into cars when necessary.
    I just might find me some tubs and try it. Mebbe ones that aren’t *quite* that wide πŸ˜‰

  11. Rick August 25, 2008 2:45 pm 

    I quit smoking last summer. I decided that my penance for throwing my cigarettes out the car window was to pick up a handful of butts at each intersection. I can easily pick up 50+ butts a day.

    I am going to call my local recycling place and see if I can get some extra bins.

  12. Ghost Rider August 25, 2008 3:20 pm 

    Sioux, as long as you’re aware of the “wide load”, the big bins aren’t an issue. And, if you use the standard-issue ones, no transfer is required at the end of the ride…simply place the bin at the curb and go about your business!

    Rick, I used to do the exact same thing after I quit smoking. All those cigarette butts are disgusting — I wish there was a way to recycle THOSE (because they’re gonna be there until the end of time).

  13. Marla August 25, 2008 4:45 pm 

    Trigger pulled. I’m on a waiting list at my LBS to get one from QBP as soon as they get them. WHich should be any day now!

  14. Dan August 25, 2008 7:51 pm 

    are you getting a deposit from the recyclables? Or is it all for the good of the planet?

  15. Ghost Rider August 26, 2008 3:17 am 

    Dan, it’s all for the good of the planet — Tampa has a curbside recycling program, but I figured that the stuff laying by the side of the road is merely garbage UNTIL it gets into one of those bins…then it has a chance at “rebirth” !

    Of course, I could segregate the aluminum and sell it for scrap…aluminum runs 70 cents a pound around here right now…

  16. tadster August 26, 2008 5:26 am 

    Ghost, you get a community service medal. Excellent work! For every person that might snicker at you, another is silently thinking “I ought to do that.” You WILL make a difference!

    And I really like climbinskier’s idea about the long arm trash picker. You ought to craft a cool holster and strap it to your bike… you know, like a cowboy’s rifle on his trusty steed. hah!

  17. Ken Sturrock August 26, 2008 6:32 am 

    Jack, you continue to amaze.

  18. greendog August 26, 2008 4:14 pm 

    You’re my HERO!
    Maybe we should work this effort into an organized ride for Earth Day or something… hmmmm?

  19. Ghost Rider August 26, 2008 4:17 pm 

    I would LOVE to get our club into doing something like this — even if we don’t do it via bike. Any kind of “cleanup day” would be great PR for us, and might encourage the City to help support us when we ask for assistance with planned rides and the like.

  20. tadster August 27, 2008 5:54 pm 

    Jack, that rear mudflap is the stuff of legends. I am totally singing Spinal Tap after looking at the back end of your bike.

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