Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and RecycleBalls announced they are partnering to collect, recycle and repurpose tennis balls across the United States.
RecycleBalls is a Vermont nonprofit founded in 2014 by Shelburne residents Derrick Senior and his son Ryan with the goal of collecting and recycling 125 million tennis balls that end up in U.S. landfills each year and then converting them into sustainable upcycled products. The Wilson/RecycleBalls partnership aims to recycle 20 million tennis balls in the U.S. over the next three years.
“Wilson and RecycleBalls are making a commitment to keep tennis balls out of landfills and repurpose them into socially relevant products like tennis courts, playgrounds, turf and more,” said Senior in a statement. “With Wilson Tennis’ help, RecycleBalls has become a nationally recognized and adopted model. To date, our growing partner network of 600 tennis clubs nationwide has kept nearly one million tennis balls out of U.S. landfills. I’m thrilled that Vermont has created this model of sustainable practice for the national tennis community.”
“This program with RecycleBalls gives our brand and players a viable way to make our communities and our sport better,” said Kyle Schlegel, global marketing director of Wilson Racquet Sports, in a statement. “We chose to work with the RecycleBalls team as their passion for sustainability in the game matched our own. They have spent the past several years building a strong infrastructure, operations and outreach programs to make recycling and repurposing tennis balls a reality on a national scale.”
The newest member of the RecycleBalls partner network is Sport Group, one of the world’s largest sports surface manufacturers. Sport Group will use recycled tennis ball material in its Laykold Masters tennis courts.
“I am delighted that Sport Group has come on board with their Laykold court brand, which is one of the most well-known brands in the game,” added Senior. “It is a great story for tennis—the balls go from bouncing on the court to being used to build new court surfaces.”
RecycleBalls offers a solution for partner tennis facilities and organizations by providing specialized bins for the collection of ball donations at clubs and public facilities nationwide. These bins are placed directly on tennis courts, giving players a way to be part of the solution.
All donation bins double as a shipping box, with attached prepaid UPS shipping labels. When full, UPS picks up the bins and delivers them to Recycleballs’ facility in South Burlington, Vt. Partners receive tax-deductible donation receipts for all donated balls.
When tennis balls arrive at Recycleballs’ Vermont facility, the nonprofit removes the felt and grinds the balls into RecycleBalls Green Gold, a natural crumb rubber mixture that is 99 percent felt free. This mixture is then provided to partner organizations to create new, sustainable products such as Laykold tennis courts. For those wishing to recycle tennis balls, RecycleBalls provides online shipping labels and a donation receipt.