Krakow pupils are testing the first racks from old stoves


More than a hundred bicycle racks, which were made of steel obtained from old, non-ecological stoves used by Krakow residents, will go to local schools. From today, students of Primary School No. 67 can use them and soon also nineteen other Krakow schools will receive their bunch. Not only the environment will benefit from recycling steel from the old stoves, but also the infrastructure - ecological, because of cycling.

Bicycle stands, resembling the Krakow Cloth Hall, were made of old coal stoves, which the inhabitants of Krakow exchanged for ecological heating sources. The ArcelorMittal Poland plant in Krakow has collected scrap metal and melted it into useful bicycle racks that will serve mainly children and youngsters.

Racks for using and educating

- In our school we have many students who ride bicycles. That's why when we heard about the vote in which we could win such stands for our school, we did not hesitate for a second - says Kornelia Szklarska, director of Primary School No. 67. - We participate in many initiatives that help to take care for the environment. This one not only encourages Kraków residents to replace old furnaces, but also allows these furnaces to be recycled. And our children will benefit – adds director Szklarska.  

Pupils and teachers from Primary School No. 67 mobilized families and friends to vote on the jutrobezsmogu.pl website. – Everyone got involved in the vote: students, teachers and our families. We gained the most votes and won first place, out of 50 schools, thanks to which the first 10 stands were installed in front of our school. They will serve students and will be a pretext for environmental education and information about the low-emission reduction program – emphasizes Kornelia Szklarska, director of the winning school. 

Five stands will also receive another 19 schools, which received the most votes in the online voting. The localization of the stands was chosen by voting, as well as the stand's design selected from among nearly 200 submitted proposals.

PLN 150 in bonus and stand for free

The cooperation for cleaner air in Krakow is an initiative of the Krakow plant of ArcelorMittal Poland and the City Hall of Krakow. Since the beginning of the year, the company has been paying a PLN 150 bonus to residents who after January 1, 2018 decided to replace the stoves fired with coal or wood for a low-emission heating source subsidized by the city office.

- We have been investing in projects for years that allow us to limit the impact of our plants on the environment. We have already spent PLN 3 billion for this purpose. We know how much impact on air quality has so-called low emissions arising during the heating of flats and houses with low-quality fuels, we wanted to support the City Hall's efforts to limit it – says Geert Verbeeck, CEO and deputy chairman of the board of ArcelorMittal Poland. – This project is also an excellent opportunity to show that steel accompanies us from dawn to dusk and that it can be processed indefinitely.

The Krakow plant has so far collected almost 600 old furnaces, which it gradually melts into bicycle stands. - Not from every furnace did we managed to collect an equally large amount of scrap, because the quality of the material was not always suitable, so that it could be melt it in our steel plant - explains Geert Verbeeck, CEO and deputy chairman of the board of ArcelorMittal Poland. After cleaning and removing all non-metallic elements from one furnace, it was possible to make on average two stands, each weighing approximately 30 kilograms. The production of the first batch of racks began in September and lasted over a month. - The first 120 bike racks are mainly for use in Krakow's schools, but we are going to produce more from the other furnaces, because the exchange of ovens significantly accelerated before the new heating season - emphasizes Geert Verbeeck.

- We have done a lot, however the exchange of old stoves till September 2019 is still one of the biggest challenges for the city. Each and every support received in fulfilling this goal is very valuable for us, that is why I am glad that large companies - like ArcelorMittal - support the municipal programme of exchanging old stoves. All the more so because scrap from the remelted stoves will contribute to the development of ecological bicycle transport. Each subsequent stand is a new parking space for bicycles, the widespread use of which significantly contributes to the improvement of air quality – comments the Mayor of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski.