How often do you purchase a new can of tennis balls after opening and playing with a can of balls? For me, the answer is between one and two weeks.
And, considering the fact that the average cost of a can of 3 regular duty balls runs around $6 dollars and that a 4-pack of 12 regular duty balls runs around $25 dollars, there’s no question that the routine purchase of tennis balls has a pretty significant financial impact on recreational (and professional) tennis players today.
Besides the cost factor, the little yellow balls are also having a pretty big negative impact on our global environment.
According to Burlington, Vermont-based Recycleballs, “approximately 125 million tennis balls are deposited into U.S. landfills annually, and tennis balls take 400 years to decompose.” After digesting those stats recently, I decided to take the individual step to recycle 150 used tennis balls of my own by contacting Recycleballs.
Recycleballs made the process extremely easy. I first received instant free shipping labels via email, then printed the labels and affixed them to a cardboard box containing my used balls, and then shipped the box to their Vermont location. After Recycleballs received my shipment, they emailed me a tax-deduction receipt form. The whole recycle process was as simple as that.
But, what’s going to happen to my old, used tennis balls? If not in a landfill, then where will they end up? Well, there are actually some great applications for recycling tennis balls today.
For example, Recycleballs has a process whereby the tennis ball felt is separated from the rubber. The rubber is then ground up and the resulting material, aka “GREEN GOLD,” is used to construct recycled tennis ball courts, horse footing and other green products. Recycleballs also sells some of the used balls that they receive as dog balls.
Recycleballs recently announced a partnership goal with Wilson Sporting Goods Co to collect, recycle and repurpose 20 million tennis balls over a 3-year period of time. Not only can individuals ship and recycle their personal stashes of old balls, but, Recycleballs currently partners with more than 1500 clubs and public tennis facilities, providing specialized recycle bins to help collect balls across the U.S.
Besides Recycleballs, there are other organizations in the US and abroad who are helping the sport of tennis get into the tennis ball recycling act.
What about you? Want to get into the tennis ball recycling game? I personally challenge you to a match!