In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to highlight a short article available in our new Knowledge Share. “Biodegradable” is a term most of you have heard and likely understand, at least at a basic level. However, there are also misconceptions about how biodegradation works and specifically, about biodegradable chain lubes. If you have a free minute, check out the short article below. While bicycle chain lube may seem insignificant, it is one easy thing you can consider to help keep you bike, trail and planet rolling.
In May of 2012, we were contacted by Diana Fox of Eco Products that Work, a blog focused on presenting readers with information about eco friendly product options that work as well, or better, than other not-so-friendly options. Diana was interested to learn more about our Go! chain lubricant and was not shy about digging behind the scenes to learn more about its eco friendliness. We happily sent over the the requested information and the story went up (read it here). Soon after, Diana let us know that one of her readers, her father, had posed a great question: Should bike oil biodegrade? Agreed that biodegradability is good, but also the longer the lube stays doing its job without degrading, the better, right?
These are great questions. Clearly it is important for a chain lube to perform well and be long lasting so why would you want it to biodegrade? The following provides a quick look at how biodegradation works and reasons why choosing biodegradable chain lube might be a better for your bike, for you, and for the planet.
Biodegradation of the oil will not occur in the bottle or during use. Biodegradability is defined as the ability of a substance to be digested or consumed by naturally occurring microorganisms present in water, air and soil systems. The conditions a bike oil experiences during use do not provide the conditions needed to biodegrade. Pedro’s Biodegradable oils are engineered to match or exceed the performance of full synthetic and petroleum-based oils. If all we wanted to do were to offer biodegradable products we’d use vegetable oil from the grocery store. Our lubricants contain bio-based additives to provide high efficiency and excellent oxidization and wear protection. Bicycles are used outside and are often come in contact with the environment in general and specifically water, dirt, and plant life. Bicycle chains require frequent lubrication and cleaning. Due to the open nature of a bicycle drivetrain it is easily contaminated by dirt, mud, sand, water, etc when riding. Biodegradable oil will have little to no ill effect on the environment when the bike is washed.
Consumer products have to be transported from the manufacturer to the user. In an ideal world this wouldn’t be the case but it is the current reality. Accidents are bound to happen during transit. Though our consumer products arrive to the customer is small volumes, the other pieces of the puzzle see much larger volumes being transported. As has been shown many times by oil spills, this can have drastic effects on the environment. Biodegradable oils will cause far less harm if spilled during transit and would readily biodegrade if it entered soil, water, or similar environments.