Did you know that, nationwide, approximately 125 million used tennis balls wind up in landfills each year?
This amounts to roughly 20,000 metric tons of methane-producing, non-compostable rubber waste.
To divert tennis balls from the landfill and our waterways, the City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation, Volunteer Cooperative, and Climate Initiatives departments are teaming up with Vermont nonprofit RecycleBalls to recycle local tennis balls.
“The program was suggested to city staff by local tennis player David Bright, who’d seen tennis ball recycling at private and public courts in other cities,” said Sustainability Coordinator Ellen Orleans. “He felt the program was a good match for Boulder’s sustainability goals and we agreed.”
Through this program, community members can recycle any brand, color or condition of tennis ball, free of charge. The collection bin is located at tennis court No. 3 behind the North Boulder Recreation Center.
The city will ship the collected tennis balls to RecycleBalls in Vermont. There, they will be processed into new tennis court surfaces and footing for horse arenas or resold as dog toys.
“This pilot is an exciting opportunity for the city to continue to strengthen its culture of recycling and sustainability,” said Interim Director of the Zero Waste Team Jamie Harkins. “Through this program, we can give tennis balls a second life.”
If the pilot is successful, the recycling program will expand to additional city courts in 2022.
If you have questions or would like to volunteer for this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-441-4004.
The City of Boulder has set a goal of recycling, composting and reusing 85% of its waste by 2025. Learn more about the city's zero waste efforts.