Project Green Ball®: New Milestones in Tennis Ball Recycling

Project Green Ball® is the voluntary product stewardship organization of the tennis industry. They are a non-profit, sustainability initiative to coordinate innovative recycling programs for used tennis balls. They support a variety of recycling programs, some of which result in the donation of surfaces based on recycled balls to organizations servicing people with disabilities or life threatening diseases.

Three hundred million tennis balls are manufactured worldwide each year (with over 125 million used in the US) and tons of balls are discarded into landfills each year. The balls decompose very slowly and take up space in landfills, reportedly producing methane gas and contributing to global warming. Everyone is aware of reuse applications for tennis balls – bottoms of chairs and walkers and as toys for dogs. But there is a limit to how many balls each year can be put to this purpose. And, even if reused, ultimately these balls still remain in the waste stream and wind up in landfills. There is no industry solution to recycling tennis balls.

Project Green Ball is devoted to ongoing finding innovative recycling projects and ideas for recycling. They have teamed with IGK Equestrian, a leading equestrian turf provider, to produce equestrian arena turf based on ground tennis balls. In exchange for delivery of 200,000 balls to their equestrian turf provider, IGK Equestrian has agreed to donate a ball-based equestrian surface to a therapeutic riding center servicing people with disabilities.

In September 2015, a riding surface with over 100,000 dead tennis balls was donated to The Shared Living Collaborative (SLC) in Merrimac, Massachusetts. The SLC provides a variety of foster-care, in-home, day and residential services to children and adults with developmental disabilities primarily in the Merrimack Valley area. The SLC embraces principles of sustainability, social and environmental responsibility, and holds the belief that everyone, regardless of challenges encountered, can live a productive, bountiful, and fulfilled life embedded in the community and every facet of society.

Since 2013 they have been working with Ace Surfaces, Advanced Polymer Technologies, ECORE International, and HABU to develop cushioned mats with dead tennis balls for tennis court surfaces. Project Green Ball provided over 25,000 balls in the research and development phases of this project in order to help Ace Surfaces and Advanced Polymer Technologies perfect its ball based cushioned court system.

Recycled Tennis Court

Project Green Ball participates in this innovative use of tennis balls in tennis court systems. Similar to the equestrian program, for every 200,000 balls which Project Green Ball pays for shipment to the manufacturer, a ball based court will be donated.

 

Over the past week, together with their partner, IGK Equestrian, Project Green Ball facilitated the donation of an equestrian turf to The Shared Living Collaborative (SLC) in Merrimac, MA. The turf, holding 100,000 dead tennis balls collected by Project Green Ball, will be used for therapeutic riding for people with disabilities. The SLC turf was donated by IGK as a result of an agreement between Project Green Ball and IGK that upon the delivery of 200,000 dead balls to IGK, IGK would donate a riding surface to a therapeutic riding program. This turf represents the third installed tennis ball based riding surface. The other two are located at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA and EquiCenter in Honeoye Falls, NY and are also used for therapeutic riding.

Therapetic Ridding Recycling Tennis BallsIn addition, this past week Advanced Polymer Technologies and Ace Surfaces installed 8 cushioned tennis courts in Tenafly, NJ with a shock pad that absorbs up to 10,000 recycled tennis balls in a single tennis court. Project Green Ball contributed 25,000 balls to the research and development efforts for the courts. Similar to the equestrian program for every 200,000 balls Project Green Ball contributes to the tennis court recycling program, Ace Surfaces will donate a cushioned tennis court surface or sports court to a non-profit organization.

Simon Lofts from HABU®, one of the original driving forces for recycling of old tennis balls into courts, said “this is precisely the sort of pioneering collaboration we strive for, and is needed, to achieve more sustainable resource use and recycling of these types of difficult-to-recycle products.”

Article source: http://projectgreenball.org/

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