Frequently Asked Questions
Is there really a need to recycle tennis balls?
YES! Industry estimates that there are 125 million tennis balls sold each year in the U.S., and almost all of those enter landfills. France has a successful national program already set up - here is an article about its success: Operation Yellow Ball
Where do the balls go?
This is the first question nearly everyone asks. Answer: Some towns/clubs keep them and make them available to any person or organization to reuse. Others keep the balls until there are 100+, and then ship them, via pre-paid shipping, to a recycling organization . The result: unused balls become something other than slowly dissolving landfill tonnage (quite slowly in fact - it is estimated that it will take 450 years for one ball to totally break down). Currently the organization we’re working with to get the balls to the recycling facilities is RecyleBalls. RecycleBalls sends the materials off to be used for sub-surface court material. They are eager and excited to invent other uses for the materials; we are looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
Who will collect the balls?
For public courts, city and/or recreation staff will empty and collect balls as part of regular trash/recycling rounds at the courts. In some communities the local Community Tennis Association takes on the task as a volunteer program. Private clubs typically assign staff to keep an eye on and empty the bins.
Can the AD-IN Bin be used for indoor courts too?
You bet! The bin was designed to hang - the lettering and deposit hole are best seen at eye-level and the bin is emptied by swinging the bottom open. While the bin will sit on the floor, it is best used when installed off the ground. When the bin arrives, included are written instructions on how to attach the bin to outdoor fencing and/or indoor walls.
How often does the AD-IN Bin need to be emptied?
Needless to say, how often the bin is emptied depends on court usage – which, in turn, may depend on seasons and/or community team or class usage. The bin holds 200 balls; for most communities this means a collection schedule of no more than once every 3-4 weeks during high tennis season. Collection should fit well with the frequency of regular recycling pick-ups done in your community. The bin is designed to keep water and most trash out so that the only maintenance to worry about is ball collection.
How many balls does the AD-IN Bin hold?
200. This number allows for a fence-friendly bin weight and a less-often collection schedule.
Does the AD-IN Bin collect garbage?
The ball deposit hole is designed to accept nothing larger than a tennis ball. As for candy wrappers and other small paper/trash items, yes they can be dropped in – that is unavoidable. However, because there are slats on the bottom of the bin, it does not hold water so garbage will not be sodden and contaminate the balls. In the two years of courtside, public tennis court collection, garbage inside the bin has not been an issue.
Will tennis players use it?
YES! Education and convenience is all that is needed. As soon as word gets our that the bins are available and what they are used for, and when players realize they no longer need to haul used tennis balls around in their athletic bags or cars – it will become second nature to discard the balls immediately after a match. Our first trials (in Wisconsin’s short tennis season, no less) yielded over 700 balls in each bin - with no promotion other than mounting the bin at a court!
How are the balls recycled?
The balls are processed so that they can be successfully mixed with another composite and used to create recreational surface - currently as park and equestrian turf surfaces. Tests are now underway to use recycled balls as 25% of the surface of a new tennis court - a wonderful example of the magic of recycling. As tennis ball recycling progresses, we are certain that other valuable uses will be created.
How can an individual help?
If you are involved with the local tennis community, make the request to your town officials and/or park staff. Let them know the environmental impact of current discarding methods and how little extra effort or cost is required to recycle. Send them to our website, for testimonials from other municipal staff who have taken on tennis ball recycling.