Oct. 16 - Israeli entrepreneurs say they're about to take the cycling world by storm with their new bicycle - made of recycled cardboard. Each bike costs less than $US10 to produce which, the developers say, will make it an accessible, environmentally-friendly form of transportation all over the world. Jim Drury has more.
Israeli entrepreneur Nimrod Elmish is riding what he says is the future of low-cost, environmentally responsible transportation. The secret, he says, is in the materials. This bike is made of cardboard, but Elmish says it's tough, reliable, and inexpensive. SOUNDBITE (English) NIMROD ELMISH, BUSINESS MANAGER FOR CARDBOARD BICYCLE PROJECT, SAYING: "This bicycle is built out of 95 percent recycled cardboard, which is the most cheapest raw material that you can find in any country. The rest of it is recycled car tyres and recycled, melted bottles. So it's 100 percent recycled materials and the bill of materials for that is $9." After being cut into shape, the cardboard is treated with a concoction made of organic materials, making it both waterproof and fire resistant, although Elmish is keeping the recipe to himself. He says the first prototype was immersed in a water tank for months but retained all its strength. UPSOT: MACHINE CUTTING Izhar Gafni invented and designed the bike in his garden shed. SOUNDBITE (English) IZHAR GAFNI, INVENTOR AND DEVELOPER OF CARDBOARD BICYCLE, SAYING: "What I did was when I took the cardboard, I tried to overcome all the weaknesses that the cardboard, as a shipping material as we all know, had. And in fact when I started it, the first few prototypes looked like a box on wheels, which you can see here. And then I had to make the transition between box on wheels to make it something that looks like a bicycle so it can be accepted by (the) public." Gafni's business partner says in most markets, rebates for using 'green' materials will cancel out production costs, allowing the bikes to be given away in poor countries. SOUNDBITE (English) NIMROD ELMISH, BUSINESS MANAGER FOR CARDBOARD BICYCLE PROJECT, SAYING: "When you see something like this, you understand quite fast that this is a real game-changer..... I don't know how many billions of bikes are being sold and have been sold in the past ten years, but.... the life span of a regular bike is maximum five years. So in five years basically I can replace all of them because I will be cheaper, faster, stronger and ecological." Production is set to begin on three bicycle models and a wheelchair, none of them containing any metal parts. Elmish says they should be on sale within a year. He and Gafni believe cardboard could one day be used to make cars and even aircraft....now that they've set the wheels in motion.