The RecycleBalls Mission
A network-powered movement to improve tennis and our planet by recycling all tennis balls in the U.S.
RecycleBalls is an innovative, youth driven 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization with a mission to recycle every tennis ball in the United States! We began in Vermont in 2014 and the tremendous success of our pilot programs has allowed us to expand nationwide and help individuals and facilities leverage the lessons we’ve learned in adopting these proven processes.
We’re not your typical nonprofit. We’re applying best practices from manufacturing and distribution to achieve our goals quickly and efficiently. The shared nature of our mission has inspired people of every age to get involved. A growing network of partners and individuals are spearheading a first-of-its-kind positive change for U.S. tennis in 2017 by their example and are ensuring that tennis in the U.S. will become a green sport.
A collection solution:
1. We are the first organization in U.S. tennis history that has a sustainable and scalable collection solution for all played tennis balls in this country. As of August, the program has been rolled out in 25 states since it was launched nationally in the spring of 2017.
2. Our patented no cost QUICKSHIP bin/program is the simplest way for individuals and facilities around the nation to recycle tennis balls. Not only does the program provide pre-paid shipping but in addition provides a tax donation for every ball donated.
A recycling solution:
1. We created RecycleBalls Green Gold in 2017. This unique crumb rubber product, made from tennis balls, can be easily incorporated into many existing processes and effectively allows the recycling of every tennis ball donated.
2. This rubber product was the result of developing a process that removes 99% of the felt from tennis balls in a cost-effective manner.
3. The first products made with RecycleBalls Green Gold were created this year with new strategic partners. Our intention is to recycle all donated balls towards green solutions and products that could potentially improve lives.
Why is tennis so wasteful?
Tennis players recognize a significant environmental problem and agree that U.S. tennis players need to change their habits and recycle their tennis balls.
Typically, tennis players rarely play with a can of balls more than once or twice because of the quick decline in pressure and the lack of consistency compared to that provided by new balls. Nationwide, approximately 125 million used tennis balls wind up in America’s landfills. That is 20,000 metric tons of methane-producing, non-decomposable rubber waste!
Why have tennis balls not been recycled in the US until now?
1. There has been no formalized collection program/solution to date that is sustainable and nationally scalable.
2. Without a formalized, scalable collection program, facilities have seen little or no value returned to them for their recycling efforts.
3. Without a formalized, scalable collection program that provided a significant ongoing supply of tennis balls, recycling efforts have not been able universally to materialize.
Are there any global role models?
Yes. France is now leading the way internationally with “Operation Jaune,” a government sponsored commitment to recycling all tennis balls in that country. This effort continues to grow and make a difference. It has received international acclaim by players and pros alike.
What can we do in this country?
Tennis players want to do what is right environmentally and would recycle all of their balls if there were available courtside recycling bins where they play. Organizations want to be part of the solution, but there needs to be a return of value that reflects well on their brand without increasing expenses. In short, there needs to be a cost-effective, universally adopted initiative to collect, recycle and publicize a solution that will keep all tennis balls out of U.S. landfills and recycle these into green products.