Cardboard? Not just for recycling

by | Jan 11, 2013 | Other News

Photo courtesy of Israel21c

Photo courtesy of Israel21c

The first article on Israeli innovation appeared in the Nov. 26, 2012 issue of Jewish News. It featured a host of Israeli inventions that are familiar to many people around the world. In this article and subsequent ones, the Israel Advocacy Committee will introduce one or two new innovations that are just hitting the market or gaining a following.

One of the latest headline grabbing inventions to come out of Israel has sparked the imagination and business sense of several members of the Israel Advocacy Committee.

If someone told you that you could ride a bicycle from cardboard, you would probably laugh and consider it a silly joke. The first question would be, how would you make one? Second, could it bare a person’s weight? Third, would rain ruin it? And what about fire…and so on and so forth. In spite of these and other endless hurdles, a cardboard bicycle is becoming a reality thanks to Israeli innovation.

In the past few years, recycling has become extremely important around the world, as well as clean transportation and clean energy, and this is especially true in Israel. Turning discarded recyclable materials into affordable transportation is what Izhar Gafni, an Israeli inventor, is out to do. In his eyes, it is not just possible, but something that will change the world.

Gafni, working out of his garage for the past four years, succeeded in making a bike that is almost entirely composed of cardboard. It is strong, durable, fireproof, and waterproof. And because it is made of cardboard, it is inexpensive. The tires are one of the only parts not made of cardboard. Instead, they are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires. And because they are solid, they cannot be punctured. This bike is a complete “green” transportation device.

Another advantage to this bike is the price: it will cost around $20 or $30. With government grants and incentives, it might even come free in third world countries and disadvantaged communities. The goal of Gafni and his business partner, Nimrod Elmish, for the next year is to make three models of the cardboard bike and a cardboard wheelchair.

The fact that such a bike and wheelchair will be available for poor countries for free (or close to it) will have such a positive impact on so many people in this world. And, the automated production lines for these products are being designed to be supplemented primarily by pensioners and the disabled, which will contribute to society in another way.

Bikes and wheelchairs are just the beginning. The possibilities of making other similar products that can impact the world are seemingly endless. The Israel Advocacy Committee will follow the success of these products once they are available in the market and will keep this community posted on their developments and results.

The Israel Advocacy Committee invites anyone to contact Robin Mancoll, director of the Community Relations Council or the committee chairs, Nataly Fleishman and Steve Leon, with questions about Israel, related concerns, or innovations that deserve future articles. In addition, check out the “Everything Israel” section on the CRC Website at

by Nataly Fleishman