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Motorcycle Kit Goes Green

We’re all told that reducing mankind’s carbon footprint will affect every area of life – well, now some motorcycle kit is looking more sustainable, with biodegradable body armour and jackets made from recycled plastic bottles.
The body armour has been developed by RE ZRO, a UK firm set up by three friends, two of whom are ex-3DO, the well known flexible body armour made in Brighton. “A lot of the protectors on the market these days are still made with polyurethane,” said co-founder Alex Yellowley, quoted in MCN. “Manufacturing of this, in itself, is quite a dirty process, produces a lot of gas and produces a lot of release agents. You can reconstitute it into things, but you can’t create a performance product from that.” He added that polyurethane is “barely recyclable,” and that if it ever ends up in landfill, it won’t break down.

Made from a single polymer, RE ZRO is claimed to be 100% recyclable and fully biodegradable – in landfill, it would break down completely in 3-5 years. In an environment swimming with microbes but little or no oxygen (typical landfill) the microbes will do the work, breaking the material down into biogas and biomaterials. The purple armour is currently being tested for CE levels one and two, and the founders say it could be used for any armour application.

Meanwhile, Tucano Urbano, the Italian clothing brand which focuses on urban riding, has introduced jackets in recycled polyester made from old plastic bottles – 30 bottles provide enough material to make a jacket. Other materials such as fabric yarn, even old fishing nets, are recycled to make the Good Wheels collection of water-repellent jackets, which are CE A-marked and offer waterproofing with a 10,000mm water column. Prices start at £225 for the Good Wheels Orbis jacket.


Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said, “This sounds like a great idea, let’s hope the replacement of polyurethane spreads to other areas, like seats, for example. Body armour has to be a minor issue in comparison to some of the other uses.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

All images courtesy of RE ZRO