The tennis/paddle ball recycling It involves several challenges, however, it is not an impossible mission. Currently, there are different organizations and enterprises that have begun to give these balls a second life.
We will divide this article into two parts, in the first we will talk about the main complexities of this type of recycling. While, in the second, we will observe some solutions.
Peculiarities of tennis and paddle balls
1. Material termoestable
The tennis and paddle balls are configured with a felt cover and a crosslinked rubber sphere. The first element is totally recyclable, however, the second belongs to the family of thermostable materials.
The thermostable materials They are characterized by being highly resistant to high temperatures. Consequently, when they are recycled by conventional methods, instead of melting they are incinerated and release toxic gases.
2. High turnover product
Usually one ball for padel or tennis, it has a shelf life of 3 to 4 matches, which can be considered quite short. On the other hand, with the addition of products to restore the pressure of the balls, such as our pressurizer Ball Rescuer, it is possible to increase the use of balls in matches.
In this sense, this type of sports ball classifies as a high turnover item. And this is demonstrated by the number of balls that are manufactured per year, which reaches approximately 325 million units. This also translates to 22,000 tons of thermoset rubber.
Integrating tennis balls into the circular economy
The practice of recycle tennis and paddle balls, is relatively new compared to other products or materials. Even so, it has been gaining ground in countries like Canada, United States, France and Spain.
Today, committed individuals and organizations have developed ways to integrate disused balls into a circular economy. Let's see some of them:
- Innovations in recycling methodology
In response to the complexity exposed by the thermostable materials, Some alternatives have been generated. Such is the case of the so-called composites, formed by mixing felt and rubber with other substances, creating new materials.
The Spanish clothing and footwear brand NoTime, Collect the paddle and tennis balls to make your shoes. The material they use is a compound between the rubber of the balls, reused coffee, worn tires and natural rubber.
- Uses for the construction industry
Arguably this is one of the most popular initiatives. Rubber cores are used in the manufacture and finishing of different structures. The options are varied, ranging from slopes to tennis or padel, playgrounds, floor coverings, soundproofing, among others.
- Useless Ball Pickup Plan – Ball Rescuer
This is another spanish initiative, which is being carried out by our brand Ball Rescuer. Our pressurizer helps extend the life of the balls. While the balls recovered through this project will be destined to: the soundproofing of school classrooms, the manufacture of rubber-based sports courts and the manufacture of clothing and footwear.
- Local/home initiatives
Many of the players themselves have taken the initiative to find new uses for their disused paddle balls. In this sense, creativity is the most distinctive feature. From the creation of purses, through beds/toys for pets, floats, tables, chairs, decorations, among many others.
The recycling of tennis/paddle balls is still in its infancy, but it is growing and more and more people are joining this cause. In Ball Rescuer, we actively promote the responsible disposal of tennis balls.