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The Environment

At Surly we've always worked closely with our manufacturers to produce good quality stuff using materials and methods that make sense for the health and welfare of everyone involved, from the people who weld our frames to the people who ride them.  We are, however, aware that manufacturing is an inherently dirty process and it creates waste.  There's no easy way around that truth.  We're committed to finding ways to produce our stuff more cleanly and efficiently, and with less waste.

Despite the waste created, we know that the net environmental result of one bike, from raw material to the end of it's life, is still cleaner and far more sustainable that the result of one car. And we strive to make the net result of our bikes cleaner compared to most other bikes.  But that's not enough.  Bicycle manufacturing and the industry as a whole can and should be cleaner than they are currently. For us, this starts with designs that are versatile, durable, and fun to use and is continued through our manufacturing processes, packaging, and marketing.  Who we work with and what we use in our manufacturing process is as important to us as it is to you.  To these ends, we ride the stuff we make.  Hell, we ride, period.  Not to prove anything.  Just to be as considerate as we can be and help provide a healthier environment for everyone.  Ourselves included.  Here are a few of the things we do to keep it clean:

  • We use steel for as many of our products as possible.  Steel is plentiful, durable, repairable, and easily recyclable
  • We powder coat our frames instead of using wet paint because fewer solvents have to be used
  • As much as possible we use stainless rather than chromed hardware to avoid releasing   heavy metals into soil and groundwater
  • Our parts are held in our packing by reusable twisty ties rather than zip ties, which get cut and chucked.  We use reusable, recyclable paper and plastic bags for packaging whenever possible instead of expensive, wasteful single-use packaging.  Our catalog and header cards are printed on 100% recycled paper using soy ink
  • Our print ads tend to be small to reduce our paper footprint and the visual pollution created by over-marketing. Further, we try to work with publishers who produce their product in clean, sustainable ways
  • Our clothing is made from wool and cotton instead of synthetic fabrics made from oil.
  • Our Singleator Scrap Tool is made from the scrap metal from our chainrings, saving 24 kilograms/53lbs of steel a year from going into the landfill or needing to be reprocessed into raw material
  • Our Scarves are made from scrap pieces of wool from the partner we work with. We use scraps for our softgoods whenever possible.
  • We recycle scrap parts and warranty frames
  • The building we work in is LEED Gold certified
  • In most cases we choose manufacturers based in Taiwan rather than other countries where labor and manufacturing costs are cheaper.  While it is more expensive to make our products in Taiwan than those other countries, we've built partnerships with Taiwanese vendors, who share our vision of promoting bicycle use and taking care of the Earth in the process.  For Surly to profit while the people who produce our products suffer, or the environment is sacrificed would go against our vision of making the world a better place through the promotion of cycling

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