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Wilson Aims to Recycle 20 Million Tennis Balls

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Wilson tennis ball on a grass court

Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and RecycleBalls are partnering to collect, recycle and repurpose tennis balls across the United States. RecycleBalls is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 with the goal of collecting and recycling the 125 million tennis balls that end up in U.S. landfills each year. The organization converts these tennis balls into innovative and sustainable products. The Wilson/RecycleBalls partnership aims to recycle 20 million tennis balls over the next three years.

“This program with RecycleBalls gives our brand and players a truly viable way to make our communities and our sport better,” said Kyle Schlegel, global marketing director, Wilson Racquet Sports. “We chose to work with the RecycleBalls team as their passion for sustainability in the game matched our own, and they have spent the past several years building a strong infrastructure, operations system and outreach programs to make recycling and repurposing tennis balls a reality.”

“Wilson and RecycleBalls are making a commitment to keep tennis balls out of landfills and repurposing them into socially relevant products like tennis courts, playgrounds, turf and more,” said Derrick Senior, founder of RecycleBalls. “What started as a mission my son and I shared is, with Wilson Sporting Goods’ help, becoming a nationally recognized and adopted program. To date, our growing partner network, which has nearly 650 members, has kept nearly one million tennis balls out of U.S. landfills.”

The newest member of the RecycleBalls partner network is Sport Group, the world’s largest sports surface manufacturer. Sport Group will use recycled tennis ball material in their 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 in the court.”

RecycleBalls offers a cost-effective solution for partner facilities and organizations by providing specialized bins for the collection of tennis ball donations at clubs and public facilities nationwide. These bins are placed directly on tennis courts, giving players a convenient way to be part of the solution.

All donation bins double as a shipping box with conveniently attached prepaid UPS shipping labels. When full, UPS picks up the containers and delivers them to Recycleballs. Partners receive RecycleBalls’ 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.

Tennis players and enthusiasts are invited to participate in the program through their own ball collection efforts or via donations to help fund RecycleBalls’ mission. For individuals wishing to recycle tennis balls, RecycleBalls provides online shipping labels along with a tax-deductible donation receipt. For more information on ways to become involved, visit recycleballs.org.