Temporary tennis ball: sustainable development initiatives in sport

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I played tennis the rest of my life and felt a special appreciation during the pandemic as it was one of the few socially distant outdoor sports that I was able to play with my classmates at the Columbia University. The casual morning game at Riverside Park Tennis Court was great, but the rally just got more exciting, so I wanted to throw out the old dead tennis ball I was using and buy a new one.

As students of environmental science and policy, we were very reluctant to throw things in the trash when we could still get some use from them. hours of play without worrying too much about what happens to the ball after it leaves the field.

Nonetheless Major sporting events At this year’s Tokyo Olympics, we made great strides in improving environmental friendliness, for example by making medals from recycled electronic devices, using 100% d renewable energy and offsetting the inevitable greenhouse gas emissions. , The sustainability of individual sports is still lacking.

For example, the pristine landscape of a golf course requires large amounts of water and pesticides to destroy and maintain wildlife habitat. In addition, sporting goods made of composite materials such as ski poles, bicycles and archery bows emit a lot of carbon dioxide and are difficult to recycle.

And in tennis, the ball is an obstacle to the sustainability of the sport.

Making tennis balls is not the most environmentally friendly process. The highly visible yellow felt coating on the ball is usually a blend of wool and nylon, which are petroleum based products. The plantations used to produce the rubber in the heart of the bale can threaten the biodiversity of plants and animals. In addition, the manufacturing supply chain can transport 50,000 miles of bullets to 11 countries from start to finish.

Tennis balls are also designed to be non-biodegradable in nature, disposable Disposable products, especially at the professional competition level.

During production, the tennis ball is filled with compressed air, which causes the ball to bounce. The balls are then packaged in plastic boxes under pressure so that they bounce. As the box opens and the ball begins to hit, it slowly loses pressure and bounces back. The felt coating of the ball also swells with each hit, increasing drag and slowing the ball.

Professional games require a new ball after a certain number of games. This is because the ball can be hit hard and can be hit over 140 mph. At the US Open, one of the Grand Slam tennis events, approximately 70,000 balls are used in a two-week competition.

Most recreational players can use the same set of balls for several or more games before the ball deteriorates until it affects the accuracy and speed of the shot. But even most novice players can sense when the ball is dead and throw it away.

The end-of-life destination for 125 million tennis balls sold and thrown away each year in the United States may be pet shelters and pedestrian funds, but most are landfills. Disposable plastic tennis ball boxes are technically recyclable, but are unlikely to be actually recycled in the United States.

So what can a waste-conscious tennis player do? And more importantly, what can tennis tournament organizers do to reduce waste at a tennis match?

Wilson Sporting Goods is a company that tries to solve these sustainability and waste issues. In 2019, Wilson released the Trinity tennis ball, which we call “the world’s first environmentally friendly high performance tennis ball”. Triniti bullets are made from a new type of rubber core that does not require compressed air and are sold in non-pressurized paper sleeves. This new design means the ball can stay cool and springy four times longer than a pressurized ball, and reviews are generally positive.

In addition to designing a better ball, another solution to keeping a tennis ball away from the dump a little longer is a ball pressurizer, which allows you to store used balls in a high pressure tube and slowly waste the ball. pressure. Or there is a machine full of gas. Give some of the bounce back to the ball. There is also a company that makes tennis courts from crushed recycled balls.

Tennis balls are physically only a small part of the total landfill in the United States, but if event organizers such as the International Olympic Committee want to claim that competition is environmentally sustainable, then for the environment impact must be taken into account. They have to think about all aspects of the event, from tennis balls to tennis balls.

Professional tennis tournaments can lead the transition to this lean sport. The professional adoption of waste reduction policies, such as the use of long-lasting balls and giving new life to dead balls, can have an impact on the behavior of players at all levels of competition. and competence.

This fallout effect of using a more durable, long-lasting tennis ball will one day stop at a local family sports store and last longer than a few times before dawn. It may mean that you can buy a sleeve for the ball. Gathering with classmates.

Nothing beats the noise and hiss that opens a new box of tennis balls, or the strong chemical smell that my mind currently associates with neon yellow, tennis ball means the sport that I and millions of other people love do. is not ecologically sustainable. I would like to let go of those feelings if the leaders who set the direction of sports technological innovation and professional sports can lead us to the point where they do not harm the planet in the name of friendly competition. ..


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Provided by
Columbia University Earth Research Institute

This story has been republished courtesy of the Institute for Earth Research at Columbia University. http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu ..

Quote: Ephemeral Tennis Ball: Sport Sustainability Initiatives (August 6, 2021), https: //phys.org/news/2021-08-ephemeral-tennis-ball-sustainability-sports.html 2021 Obtained August 6, 2014.

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair dealing for the purposes of personal investigation or research. The content is provided for informational purposes only.


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