Why Should We Recycle Tennis Balls? Are they Bad For Earth?

Every year more than three hundred and sixty million tennis balls are manufactured. And the sad part is that not even a quarter of three hundred and sixty million are recycled. In the past few years, some organizations have started taking steps toward this alarming situation but that’s not enough. Each Year almost 125 Million Tennis balls wind up in America’s landfills and there’s no proper way to recycle old tennis balls.

Tennis balls have the longest decay period of four hundred years. Almost 3.5 tons of tennis ball waste is buried in the landfills of America is causing danger to wildlife. We are also polluting their home, not only their home but also their food because the rubber and plastic present in the land is causing soil erosion, less water infiltration, and loss of soil nutrients hence plants don’t get enough nutrition to grow.

recycle tennis balls
In this picture: There is a tennis ball lying on the ground

Why Should We Recycle Tennis Balls?

In simple words. For the sake of the environment and our future generations. The rapid increase in global warming is causing extreme weather conditions which are not bearable for any human being. All this is happening due to a lack of waste management.

The government is doing its part but it’s not enough, every day thousands of tennis balls are thrown away so how can government handle it all alone? A single grand slam event would be disposing of almost 54,000 tennis balls in only two weeks. So we all should come together and take action on this alarming situation.

How A Tennis Ball Is Manufactured?

Tennis is manufactured with the following materials:

  • Two Piece Rubber Shell
  • Felt Nylon
  • Glue

A Tennis ball is made up of all these non-biodegradable materials. From my point of view all these popular tennis ball manufacturing companies such as Babolat, Dunlop, etc. Should replace all these non-biodegradable materials with biodegradable materials, instead of using synthetic rubber they should use natural rubber which is more environmentally friendly.

These few changes in the tennis ball will exponentially reduce its decay period hence less environmental hazards.

What To Do With Old Tennis Balls?

how to recycle tennis ball at home?
In this picture: A dog is laying on the ground with a tennis ball in its mouth

Tennis balls can be reused but not for playing tennis. We can utilize tennis balls in so many other valuable ways. You make use of them for numerous household activities and you can also donate old tennis balls.

  1. Pet Toy
  2. Crafts You Can Make With Tennis Ball
  3. Accessories Made With Tennis Ball

1. Pet Toy

If you are a dog owner then I’m sure you know how much dogs love to play with balls, So instead of buying a new one for your dog, you should give them all of your old tennis balls. Dogs tend to lose their play toys when they are playing outside, so all of your tennis balls can be useful.

Please note that before giving tennis balls to your pet, make sure you clean them as well.

2. Crafts You Can Make With Tennis Ball

There are so many DIY projects that you can do with tennis balls. The first DIY project is Floor Protectors. Cut an X in your tennis ball and put it on each leg of your furniture chair. This will protect the floor from scratches. Another DIY project is Dryer Balls.

Just toss a couple of tennis balls in the dryer along with your clothes and see the magic. The tennis balls will prevent the clothes from clumping so, therefore, less electricity will be utilized.

You can also do life hacks with tennis balls. One of my favorite life hacks with a tennis ball is hanging a tennis ball in the garage to perfectly park your car every time.

3. Accessories Made With Tennis Ball

With tennis balls, you can make a DIY phone stand, a funny pen holder, a card holder, a wall keys stand, and many more. You can even make DIY recycled ball accessories and sell them on amazon or any other marketplace. There’s a brand MANikordstudio which sells DIY accessories made from old tennis balls.

How Tennis Balls Are Recycled On Large Scale?

Many organizations have taken the initiative to recycle tennis balls. One of them is Rebounces. This company collects used tennis balls, crush them, and utilizes them in manufacturing various recycled things.

Let’s look at the application of recycled balls on a large scale.

  1. Tennis Courts
  2. Flooring
  3. Horse Footing

1. Tennis Courts

The rubber used in the manufacturing of tennis balls is ideal for tennis courts. In the surfacing of one tennis court, approximately 10,000 tennis balls are used, providing a 14% to 21% cushion. This cushioning is usually done on public tennis courts.

2. Flooring

The crushed tennis balls are now used in various rubber flooring. Various gym floors and sports hall floors are now manufactured with crushed tennis. This decreases the cost of manufacturing floors and also contributes largely to recycling tennis balls. This way we can manage the tennis ball waste efficiently and also contribute to the economy.

3. Horse Footing

This initiative was taken by Recyleballs. They have managed to create durable horse footing. The process of converting tennis balls into horse footing is simple. Tennis balls undergo a few processes including crushing and milling to be turned into horse footing.

Benefits Of Recycling Tennis Balls

Recycling tennis balls come with so many benefits from economical benefits to environmental benefits there is a long list. Let’s look at some of the benefits of recycling tennis balls.

1. Contributes to the economy

Replacing rubber with crushed tennis balls in the manufacturing of floors, horse footing, tennis courts, and many other things the cost of manufacturing reduces, therefore, more profit can be gained.

2. Reduces environmental hazards

When more and more tennis balls will be recycled the number of tennis balls buried in landfills will reduce.

3. Saves Wildlife

Along with tennis balls buried in landfills, the sea is also polluted with a huge number of tennis balls which is extremely dangerous for marine life. Tennis ball contains a rubber material which is extremely toxic and is not safe at all for marine life therefore recycling tennis balls reduce the risks of marine life being infected by these toxic materials.

4. Pollution Decreases

In some parts of the world, garbage is set on fire to decompose. The garbage also contains tennis balls which contain rubber. Rubber is highly flammable and also gives off toxic fumes. So therefore instead of setting tennis balls on fire they can be crushed and recycled into useful things which are healthier for the environment.

5. Limit Global Warming

Tennis balls buried in landfills for a long time produce methane (CH4) which is a greenhouse gas that stays in the atmosphere for around 9 to 15 years. Methane traps heat 20 times more than carbon dioxide, therefore, being a major factor in global warming.

Final Thoughts

Tennis ball recycling is not yet common in many parts of the world. Mainly because those countries are underdeveloped and don’t have enough resources to launch campaigns for recycling tennis balls. Therefore high income or developed countries need to take this initiative as we must save our earth for future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do with old tennis balls? 

The best way to utilize old tennis balls is by creating DIY crafts with them or using them as a pet toy for your dog. Another thing you can do is ship to recycling companies such as RecycleBalls and Rebouncers. They will email you a prepaid shipping label so you can send them your old tennis balls for free.

Can tennis balls be recycled UK?

Tennis balls can be converted into a DIY Craft. Or there are many UK-based tennis ball recycling companies that accept used tennis balls and recycle them.

How many tennis balls are recycled?

Every year 22 Million are recycled in the USA. The total number of balls manufactured every year is 325 Million.

Can you recycle tennis balls in Australia?

Yes, in Australia there are a few organizations that accept sports equipment for recycling. Such as tennis balls, tennis racquets, basketballs, snow skis, and snow boots.

Are Tennis Balls Compostable? 

No, a Tennis ball is made from Rubber and Felt which takes up to 400 years to decompose.


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