Trek finds a smarter way of packing bikes

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Want to pop some bubble wrap? You'll find to find it somewhere else (Photo: Trek)
Want to pop some bubble wrap? You'll find to find it somewhere else (Photo: Trek)
  • Bicycles are delivered with a lot of harmful plastic inside those shipping boxes
  • Trek is a huge bicycle brand, and wanted to deal with the issue of needless plastic use
  • The company has a new minimalist shipping approach, without increasing risk or damage to frames

Bicycle companies are facing greater scrutiny about their suitability, especially in the realm of packaging.

Any rider who has removed a new frame from its transport box, will know the sheer volume of unnecessary packaging and soft-padding that does with it.

Trek is one of the world’s largest bicycle companies and it has reimagined how to package new frames and bikes, for transport to retailers and customers.

The American brand’s industrial engineering team analysed legacy packaging issues and found many places where superfluous plastic and foam, could be removed.

This is how Trek was packaging, with a lot of single-use plastic and foam (Photo: Trek)
The new packaging is a lot better for nature (Photo: Trek)

Bye-bye bubble wrap

For decades, bicycles have been packaged with bubble wrap and foam inserts, to guard against damage when being shipped.

Trek’s insight has been to understand how these environmentally challenging materials, with low recycling potential, can be replaced by better alternatives – mostly cardboard and paper. The result has been a new approach to frame packaging and notably less non-recyclable plastic.

Gone are all the foam and plastic wraps that cushioned the main tube junctions. Trek has also deleted the crank arm foam wrap and removed bubble wrap from the chainstay area.

Depending on the specific bike model, Trek has managed to remove up to 42 individual bits of packaging with its new approach.

How much single-use plastic has Trek managed to save, with its new packaging design? At the company’s current sales volume, it should equate to a 196t saving per year.

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