Is it time for tennis to serve up a greener approach? From court maintenance and the amount of water it takes, to the sheer volume of balls and rackets that a player can go through during one match, there are several ways in which tennis isn’t environmentally friendly. Luckily the industry as a whole is becoming more aware of the problem and taking steps to protect the planet while still providing a thrilling game for players and fans alike. So just what is the tennis industry doing to help? And what can amateur lovers of the sport do to play their part?
Industry Tackles Environmental Impact
The tennis industry has been making leaps and bounds towards being more environmentally friendly in recent years. Back in 2007, tennis legend Billie Jean King launched “Green Slam”, an initiative to encourage the professional tennis world to pay more attention to its impact on the environment. The mood was soon caught by the United States Tennis Association, with the 2008 U.S. Open being the first event with a strong focus on environmental impact. That legacy is still strong today, with efforts from 2008 onwards having a positive impact on the environment.
- More than 870 tons of waste has been diverted from the U.S. Open, reducing the amount in landfill;
- More than 1 million plastic bottles have been recycled;
- Almost 2 million fans have traveled to the event by public transport instead of using cars.
U.S. Open fans have become part of the solution, with the USTA releasing public service announcements encouraging fans to reduce their water, energy and paper use while attending the Open, encouraging fans, professionals and organizations alike to work together for a more environmentally sound game. Tennis manufacturers around the world have also been working to reduce their environmental impact in the way they produce everything from rackets to balls, and the materials they choose for production. Tennis manufacturer Wilson has lead the charge by including recyclable materials in its tennis balls, and introducing more environmentally friendly rackets made with less resins and chemicals.
Amateur Players Can Make Greener Choices
Amateur tennis players can also play a part in making tennis a greener sport, by making more environmentally sound choices when it comes to where and how they play. If you’re an amateur tennis player, there are several things you can do to make your game greener:
- When finding someone to play against, look for a tennis partner near you, and find your nearest suitable court, cutting down on travel and fuel;
- Look for equipment second hand – of course there won’t always be second hand choices, but exploring the possibility means you could put something to good use rather than sending it to landfill. Likewise, if you have equipment that is still in good condition but not useful to you any more, pass it on rather than throw it away;
- Strike up a conversation with your favorite court about court grooming, watering and maintenance. From changing their watering schedule to use less without compromising the surface, to choosing clay surfaces that include recycled materials, court owners can play their part;
- Recycle your tennis balls. Most players go through tennis balls at an alarming rate, but new initiatives are springing up all the time to find new uses for them, from recycling the balls into new sports surfaces to Rebounce, a patented re-pressuring machine that breathes new life back into worn out tennis balls;
- Don’t throw away those old shoes – Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program grinds down worn out sports shows into a new material that can be used for sports surfaces from turf to tracks.
From world-class pros to dedicated amateurs, the world of tennis is becoming cleaner and greener all the time, which is good news for environmentally conscious tennis lovers everywhere.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business, and SEO.