We are saving the planet. One ball at a time.

The Problem   Tennis balls take 400 years to decompose.

Nationwide, approximately 125 million used tennis balls wind up in America’s landfills every year. That is 20,000 metric tons of methane-producing, near non-decomposable rubber waste. U.S. tennis players recognize this as a significant environmental problem that no longer represents their sport in 2021.

U.S. tennis players want to be part of the solution and will recycle all of their balls if convenient courtside bins are available. Organizations also want to be part of a cost-effective green solution. In short, there needs to be an economical, universally adopted initiative to collect, recycle, reuse and publicize a national initiative – one that will inspire the US tennis community to change habits and stop trashing tennis balls.

Our Solution

Our network is making a difference!


Our partner network is promoting scalable collection solutions and spreading the word.


Convenient bins make it easy. Tennis players universally love this.


Prepaid UPS shipping labels make it easy for bins to be shipped to our facility in Vermont.


Some of the Tennis balls are ground up and the felt is separated from the rubber. We call the rubber crumb generated; GREEN GOLD. Other balls are sold and reused as dog balls.


GREEN GOLD is used in the construction of tennis courts, horse footing and hopefully soon, with more R&D, a variety of green products.

RecycleBalls GREEN GOLD

An all natural crumb rubber

RecycleBalls GREEN GOLD is a processed natural crumb rubber obtained through the grinding and separation of recycled tennis balls, which we collect through our national QUICKSHIP and QUICKLABEL programs.

We have invested nearly two years in full R&D to develop a process that will remove 99% of the felt in a cost-effective manner. This extensive research had us in consultation with dozens of manufacturers and processors nationwide. This solution is currently up and running installed in our 9,000 SF South Burlington Vermont facility.

The PLAY IT GREEN machine
10,000 balls an hour
Our unique new PLAY IT GREEN machine produces GREEN GOLD that is used in a number of products. 

Recycle and Reuse

A variety of green products

While we sell/reuse some of our tennis balls as recyclable “no trash” dog balls to help satisfy a need from many dog owners who would otherwise trash their balls, our primary mandate is to recycle and reuse these in new products.

Laykold Tennis Courts

Tennis ball courts are the new product in the market which effectively uses recycled, used up tennis balls.
- These types of courts are of excellent playability along with a high durability factor.
- The shock-absorption quality of these tennis ball courts is better than the rest.
- Up to 10,000 recycled tennis balls are used at a time in building each cushion tennis court.

One Coat Stucco Replacement

We are working to promote a revolutionary stucco replacement that will use our GREEN GOLD from recycled tennis balls. This product has several unique advantages: -Approximately 1/2 the price of stucco. - Time-tested, long-term reputation. - Extremely durable – will not crack.
- Comes in any color, premixed.
- A green energy efficient product. R value = 2

Natural Pebble Rubber Mulch

This product is ideal as a natural rubber mulch or ground cover and is metal and dye free. It provides a unique and natural looking ground cover that can be used in a number of applications.

- Plant and Garden mulch/cover

- Equestrian footing and Playgrounds

- The product comes in various sizes from 1/8″ to 1/2″

- Lab tested/approved – SDS

"No Trash" Dog Balls

We are the first organization to provide “NO TRASH” dog balls that allow folks to purchase dog balls and then recycle them back to us at no -cost. Our balls are sold on eBay.


We are continuing to Research and Develop new products that would use our recycled tennis ball material.


  • RecycleBalls is a national player driven initiative to reuse and recycle all tennis balls. 
  • We are the first organization in U.S. tennis history with a large scale collection solution for all played tennis balls in this country.
  • Our patented 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.
  • We created RecycleBalls Green Gold in 2017.  This unique crumb rubber product, made from tennis balls, can be easily incorporated into many existing processes.
  • This rubber product was the result of developing a process that removes 99% of the felt from tennis balls in a cost-effective manner.
  • The first products made with RecycleBall’s Green Gold were created in 2018 with new strategic partners.
  • We created RecycleBalls Green Gold in 2017.  This unique crumb rubber product, made from tennis balls, can be easily incorporated into many existing processes.
  • This rubber product was the result of developing a process that removes 99% of the felt from tennis balls in a cost-effective manner.
  • The first products made with RecycleBall’s Green Gold were created in 2018 with new strategic partners.
  • In February 2019, Recycleballs was one of four nonprofits nominated as an environmental finalist in the prestigious 2019 Halo awards.

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 open a new can of tennis balls every time they play because of the quick decline in pressure and the lack of consistency in previously played balls. Nationwide, approximately 125 million used tennis balls wind up in America’s landfills every year. That is 20,000 metric tons of methane-producing rubber waste that takes 400 years to decompose!

Simply put – there is no money in it.

Profitability from recycled tennis ball rubber is almost non-existent given that it must compete with low-cost ubiquitous tire rubber. There has been no formalized tennis ball collection program/solution prior to RecyleBalls that was sustainable and nationally scalable. There is also the prohibitive factor of costly necessary infrastructure and costs of de-felting and the management needed to facilitate these efforts. For these reasons, tennis ball recycling has not been able to successfully materialize, despite the depth of the problem and the considerable passion to see this happen.

This non-profit was initiated by the passion and generosity of a few who volunteered their time, talent, and treasure. We started small and grew quickly by offering compelling easy to use programs. Our funding is derived from a number of sources:

  • Donations to offset existing program costs.
  • Fundraising through our existing partner network.
  • Outreach to Corporate sponsors.
  • Sales of our Green Gold for use in tennis courts and other products.
  • Selling balls as recyclable “NO TRASH” dog balls.
  • Leveraging of volunteer resources.

In 2019 we signed a three-year partnership with Wilson Sporting Goods – our key sponsor and partner who has generously provided us with some funding and institutional guidance. 

Until we can fully monetize our recycled products we still need support from the tennis community and corporate sponsors.  We  have grown more sustainable every year since we started in 2017. With more awareness and  continuing outreach, we are encouraged this will become a highly successful  model for other countries.

Currently, our recycling line, the PLAY IT GREEN machine, represents a net expense. Given increasing green interest and our commitment to finding new partners and potential products, this is changing. The investment we have made in this new, first-of-its-kind, custom-built recycling line, holds the promise that with increased production and further product R&D, the GREEN GOLD produced may fund much of this initiative.

Given such a positive response and substantial network growth in the USA and now Canada, we have continued to receive a stream of requests to bring our patented bin system, programs, processes, and intellectual property to other countries. In 2020, we changed our mission to “Recycle and reuse ALL tennis balls” with a goal to spread this mission globally in a considered, cost-effective fashion. 


  • 2010-2021 period. Since virtually all tennis ball production left the US with the end of the first decade of the 21st century, import data for the 2010-2021 period was understood to be a good approximation to the number of balls disposed of in the US in that period. Import data was taken form the World Integrated Trade Solution’s website. Data for 2014 was anomalously low and was substituted by taking the mean of the value for 203 and 2015. When first quarter data was given the annual number was assumed to be four times the first quarter data. Links to sources is given in the addendum.
  • 1874-2009 period. Data from this period originates in newspaper reports of the number of tennis balls sold or used in the US in particular years (with one exception coming from the Tennis Industry Association). Data for 28 years comprised between 1921 and 2007 was obtained in that way. The figures for the years for which no data was found in newspaper archives were imputated through linear interpolation. The figure belonging to the year immediately previous to the year tennis was introduced to the US and the figures  corresponding to the years of World War 2 were set to 0.

Number of balls

7.04 billion


Number of balls by year:


Cumulative number of balls by year:


Year of introduction of the first ball


This is the year that, as far as records can show us, lawn tennis was first played in the US. Though it is not known who and when exactly did it first, it seems it arrived independently at several places within the East Coast.

Source: Collins, B. (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book (2nd ed.). New Chapter Press.

Addendum 1: source links

In order to read most of the linked newspapers a subscription to is needed. Nevertheless, the newspaper, date and page where the information is found can be seen by clicking in the link (to see the page you have to close the subscription pop-up).





























2010-2021 (imports):  (Year can be changed by clicking in ‘change selection’)