Manufacturer recommendations vary when it comes to the lifespan of a helmet. Somewhere between three and five years is pretty standard for needing a replacement, assuming you don't drop or crash your lid during that time. There aren’t really any guides on how to dispose of them properly though, and given the multitude of materials involved in their construction, and the adhesives used, helmets are landfill fodder once they reach the end of their usable life.
POC has decided this isn’t a viable practice for the long term, and so has brought the new Myelin helmet to market, constructed from recycled and recyclable materials and with easy disassembly so it can actually be processed properly. Is this the sustainable future of helmet design?
Engineered to be deconstructed
While some materials in the best commuter helmets can be recycled, once you glue them together with adhesives to the point they become inseparable they can only really be treated as general waste without a lot of effort to take them apart.
In order to counteract this, POC has created the new Myelin in a manner that means all the constituent components can be easily disassembled by the owner at the end of its useable lifespan, meaning they can enter the relevant waste stream without any issue.
Instead of glue, the outer fabric weave shell and inner cradle are secured to the expanded polystyrene carcass with fasteners, and a fitment system similar to a baseball cap is used to allow an adjustment free system once you have the size dialled in.
Recyclable, and recycled
Not only is the helmet itself recyclable, it is constructed from 50% recycled materials. The fabric weave shell, straps, and pads are all made from recycled polyester. It seems that the main polystyrene carapace is virgin material however, but it’s certainly a start.
There are no rotational impact considerations as part of the design, but as these usually take the form of a liner that’s clipped in it should be possible if POC continues the same concept up its range to more performance oriented models.
Pricing and availability
The Myelin is available now for £100 / $100 / €100, which certainly makes remembering the price easy for everyone.
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Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage making his own frames and components as a part time framebuilder, restoring old mountain bikes, or walking his collie in the Lake District.
Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper, Stooge Mk4, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross