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 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.