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Friends of St Nicholas Fields
Case study

Sustainable waste collection with St Nicks

Friends of St Nicholas Fields received eCargo Bike Grant Funding to buy two ecargo bikes for efficient and sustainable waste collection.


Friends of St Nicholas Fields (St Nicks), based in York, has been providing an efficient and sustainable recyclable waste collection service to the city since the early 2000s.

Using electric trucks and load-bearing pedal powered tricycles, the team from St Nicks can access hard-to-reach areas of the city.

However, as the areas it serves have expanded, it’s become harder for its collection vehicles to get to these locations.

With the help of iTravel York and funding from the eCargo Bike Grant Fund provided to City of York Council, St Nicks was able to add two ecargo bikes to its fleet. This means it can continue delivering its services to a wider area while also improving the sustainability of its operations. 


St Nicks had previously thought about switching to using ecargos bikes, but it couldn’t justify the change because there hadn’t been any issues with its pedal-powered bikes.

However, it became harder to find replacement parts for its older pedal-powered tricycles, which were secondhand when St Nicks got them over 10 years ago. Refuse collectors were also spending almost as much time cycling to and from collection points as they were loading waste, so this was becoming increasingly inefficient. 

St Nicks researched different ecargo bike companies to try and find a solution to address these issues.

Sam Taylor, waste and recycling manager, said: “We spent a long time contacting several ecargo bike companies to find one that suited our specific needs. We were looking for a cargo bike that maximised space; had batteries that didn’t take up cargo space; and that offered the flexibility to modify the tricycle in the same way our own pedal-powered tricycles had been modified and adapted over the years.”  

During the research, St Nicks found that the City of York Council had just obtained some ecargo bikes through the eCargo Bike Grant Fund scheme, and these bikes were suitable for its needs. 

‘With the help and support of iTravel York, we requested and received two ecargo tricycles from City of York Council.’

– Sam Taylor

ecargo bike used for recycling collection


Using ecargo bikes has improved St Nicks waste and recycling operations. The bikes have:

  • Increased capacity and reduced travel times.
  • Provided more flexibility to the team to take on additional work and one-off jobs.
  • Reduced rider fatigue, which has improved productivity.  

Sam said: “We’re saving money and the team enjoys using the ecargo bikes. However, we did have a couple of challenges with the extra modifications that we needed to make to adapt them to our specific needs.”  

Sam now offers recommendations for those who are considering buying an ecargo bike. 

“If you’re not finding a suitable option off the shelf, make sure to get testimonials from existing customers of the supplier. Additionally, ensure that all staff are properly trained on the extra features of the ecargo bikes (ours for instance has a ‘boost’ a ‘walk mode’ and a ‘throttle’). It’s easy for people to inadvertently use the wrong settings and potentially damage the bikes. At St Nicks, all staff enjoy using the ecargo bikes, and we receive a lot of inquiries from residents and the public about them.” 

– Sam Taylor

Last updated: 7 May 2024