What’s Happening Today With Used Tennis Balls?
Some communities and individuals already collect balls.
Currently, in the US, those who collect balls distribute them to local schools, youth programs, assisted living facilities and animal shelters. While repurposing and reusing balls is a great trend and full of good intentions, every ball eventually loses its original or reborn purpose and needs to be recycled. We need to wake up to the environmental issues surrounding tennis ball waste & help facilitate ball recycling.
As much as we don’t like to admit it - some ball collections are simply tossed in the trash because court workers have no idea that the balls cannot be recycled in standard recycling factories. And rarely, if ever, is there a recycling advocate close by to educate them about recycling options.
In France, the French Tennis Federation, individual tennis players & facilities, tennis ball & tournament businesses, and play surface manufacturers have pooled their resources to make use of the almost 1.6 million tennis balls collected each year - that’s an estimated 10% of all balls used in France. That’s enviable!
There are recycling options in the US for tennis balls - FINALLY!
Three national organizations are working diligently to make tennis ball recycling happen in the US. Focusing primarily on discarded balls from tennis club, tennis academies, and schools Project Green Ball (PGB) & reBounces are undertaking the task of accepting used balls and finding proper recycling centers. They are doing it! Ground up balls are contributing to equestrian arenas, being added to various playing surfaces, and might possibly get turned into tennis courts soon! Retour Tennis is focusing on educating park and recreation departments, tennis communities, and individual players about the need to recycle, how to start recycling, and the current state of recycling throughout the US.