Bio-degradable Overgrips!

We recently learned about a really cool new environmentally conscious, bio-degradable tennis product that we want to share with members of the Project Green Ball community.  Own The Zone’s (OTZ) EcoGrip is the world’s first bio-degradable overgrip and is available in tacky or smooth.  The company reports that the grips break down naturally in one year.

In terms of playability we saw no difference between the EcoGrip (tacky or smooth) and other comparable, thicker overgrips on the market.  Grip price is competitive with other non-bio-degradable overgrips.

OTZ believes that tens of millions of overgrips are used and discarded annually from tennis, badminton, squash and racket ball.  According to OTZ, “traditional overgrips are made out of polyurethane, the same material used to make heart valves, foam cushions and skateboard wheels. Just like heart valves the grips are made to last, resist erosion and not break down in the environment. They are not bio-degradable.”

“EcoGrip utilizes new technology in polymer chemistry to enable EcoGrip to be the first eco-friendly sports grip products on the market,” says Julius Stockfish Co-President, Own the Zone. “Not only does EcoGrip feel and play like the very best overgrips on the market, but when replaced and discarded it breaks down rapidly in the ecosystem. No other hard wearing, abrasion resistant polyurethane material has ever done that.”

We love that there are other innovators in the tennis industry who are developing environmentally conscious solutions to address the large amount of solid waste produced by the tennis industry.  We encourage other tennis players interested in the environment to purchase the OTZ EcoGrip and to lobby tennis manufacturers to adopt more environmentally friendly manufacturing methods and product stewardship initiatives.

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OTZ EcoGrip (brown - originally white) decaying in a compost pile next to traditional neon colored non-bio-degradable overgrips

OTZ EcoGrip (brown – originally white) decaying in a compost pile next to traditional neon colored non-bio-degradable overgrips

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Project Green Ball Collects Over 100,000 Tennis Balls

In just over one year since commencing collection efforts, Project Green Ball has received donations of over 100,000 tennis balls.

Recent donors include: The Longfellow Club (1800 balls), Wightman Tennis Center (450), Belmont Hill School (250), Pine Brook Country Club (1450), Longwood Cricket Club (918), Tri-Valley League Tennis Teams (100), The Adirondack Club (350), Bosse Sports and Health Club (1600), Worcester Tennis Club (1260) and Manchester Bath and Tennis (125).

Currently, PGB’s ball collection efforts stand at 103,606 tennis balls, representing donations from over 45 clubs, teams, schools, tournaments, camps, leagues, individuals and the USTA New England.  Donations have been received from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida.  This summer PGB exhibited 10 separate occasions at Boston Lobsters and Philadelphia Freedoms home matches and at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tournament, educating the public about recycling tennis balls. Over 20 volunteers participated in the exhibitions.

Project Green Ball is a sustainability initiative to recycle used tennis balls and to donate surfaces based on the recycled balls to programs for people with disabilities. Once PGB delivers 200,000 balls to our equestrian turf manufacturer partner, IGK Equestrian, they will donate a ball-based riding turf to a therapeutic riding program.

Notable contributions to PGB this past year include Wilson Sporting Goods facilitation of shipping for 20,000 tennis balls to our equestrian turf manufacturer and The Longfellow Club’s contribution of over 11,000 tennis balls.  Longfellow received a “Green Ball” certificate from PGB for its donation of 10,000 balls.

This past year PGB was also been fortunate to receive a DoSomething.com seed grant ($500), a Disney Friends for Change grant ($1,000) and an ABC Summer of Service Award ($1,000).  The funds from these grants helped PGB maintain and operate the program.

If you are interested in participating in PGB or donating balls to PGB, please send an e-mail to ben@projectgreenball.com.

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Project Green Ball Awards First “Green Ball” Certificate to The Longfellow Club

Project Green Ball awarded its first “Green Ball” certificate of recognition to The Longfellow Club in Wayland, Massachusetts, for donation of 10,000 tennis balls to PGB.  Longfellow recently passed the 10,000 ball donation level by contributing 1,800 additional balls to PGB, thereby bringing its total to 11,625 balls donated to PGB. Special thanks to Phil Parrish and Laury Hammel of The Longfellow Club for their continued support of PGB.

The Longfellow Clubs have a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and have developed a reputation as the greenest health clubs in the United States.  The clubs have pioneered sustainable business practices.

For those not versed in tennis awards, the Gold Ball is awarded by the United States Tennis Association to winners of national championships sponsored by the USTA.  PGB will award Green Ball certificates of recognition to facilities donating 10,000 balls to PGB and, periodically, Green Balls for other notable contributions to PGB.  The Longfellow Club is the first recipient of a Green Ball certificate of recognition.

If you are interested in participating in Project Green Ball, please reach out to Ben@projectgreenball.com to learn more about the program. Once Project Green Ball collects and delivers 200,000 tennis balls to our turf manufacturer partner, IGK Equestrian, they will donate an equestrian turf to a therapeutic riding center.

Project Green Ball "Green Ball" Certificate of Recognition presented to The Longfellow Club upon contribution of 10,000 balls to PGB.

Project Green Ball “Green Ball” Certificate of Recognition presented to The Longfellow Club upon contribution of 10,000 balls to PGB.

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High Schools and Colleges Contribute Balls to Project Green Ball from Recently Completed Seasons

Now that the high school and college tennis seasons are winding down, we hope that coaches, players and athletic directors will remember Project Green Ball and contribute their dead balls to PGB’s tennis ball recycling initiative.

Member schools in the New England Prepatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) have been exceptionally supportive of Project Green Ball.  So far this spring, we have received commitments from Hopkins School, Beaver Country Day School, St. George’s School, Tabor Academy and Phillips Academy Andover to contribute balls to Project Green Ball.

In addition, the Maimonides School, Regis College, and the men’s tennis team at Boston College have committed to giving balls to Project Green Ball from the just completed season.

Special thanks to the following coaches for their support – Bill Ewen and Susan Bennitt (Hopkins), Josh Rilla (BCDS), Stuart Titus (St. George’s), Steve Sughrue (Tabor), Gregory Wilkin (Andover), Bruce Brumberg (Maimonides), John Ciarleglio (Regis), and Gennady Burakovsky (BC).

If your high school or college season is over, please reach out to us at info@projectgreenball.com to contribute your dead balls!

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Project Green Ball Collection Campaign Exceeds 88,000 Balls

Project Green Ball’s dead tennis ball collection campaign passed the 88,000 ball mark due to a number of firsts this past month.  Most notably, we received the single largest donation of balls at one time from a donor – the Wellesley Country Club donated 7,650 balls!  Special thanks to Dave McNaughton for thinking of Project Green Ball.

We collected our first balls from Florida, courtesy of the Heathrow Country Club, facilitated by Wilson Sporting Goods.  Our volunteer extraordinaire Debbie Blaine organized the collection of 800 balls from the club’s Spring Fling event.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteer Alex Cahill, we installed our 8th collection bin at The Adirondack Club in Franklin, MA.  So if you play at the club make sure to deposit your dead balls in our collection bin there.

If you want to donate balls to Project Green Ball or host a collection, please reach out to us at info@projectgreenball.com.

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Ambassadors and Volunteers Boost Project Green Ball Collection Efforts Across the US

Project Green Ball appreciates the efforts of its Ambassadors and volunteers who are expanding our collection efforts across the US.

Chicago Project Green Ball Ambassador Alex Heil has planned a series of collection events at the following upcoming Gladiator Tennis tournaments:

  • June 22nd – family doubles charity event at Waubonsee Valley HS
  • July 6th – Gladiator Doubles Event at Waubonsee Valley HS
  • August 10th – Gladiator Open Singles tournament at Waubonsee Valley HS
  • October 26th – Gladiator Playoffs – semis and finals at Washington Middle School

Michigan Project Green Ball Ambassador Brandon Still facilitated the collection of 800 balls from Eastside Tennis and Fitness Club (600) and the Albion College tennis team (200).

New York Project Green Ball Ambassador Robert Ma has introduced our program to his Brooklyn Manhattan Meet Up group and will be harvesting used balls through the spring and summer seasons.

Volunteer Alex Cahill, of Holliston, MA, has collected 135 dead balls from high school teams in the Tri-Valley League.  In addition, she staffed the Project Green Ball exhibition table at the Global Youth Service Day collection event at Brown/Billone Club in North Easton, Massachusetts.  Alex plays varsity tennis for the Holliston High School girls team.

Volunteer Debbie Blaine in Florida has set up the first collection bin in Florida for Project Green Ball.  If you play tennis at the Heathrow Racket Club in Heathrow, Florida, please consider dropping your dead balls in the collection bin at the club.

We continue to appreciate the support of Wilson Sporting Goods which is helping to facilitate the collection of balls from Gladiator Tennis and the Heathrow Racket Club.

We are grateful for the support of our Ambassadors and volunteers and humbled by their dedication to Project Green Ball.  If you would like to help in our collection efforts, please reach out to us at info@projectgreenball.com.

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Global Youth Service Day Collection Events Net 3,350 Balls for Project Green Ball

This past weekend Project Green Ball held successful collection events on Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis Club and the Brown/Billone Club.  Approxately 50 kids age 9-18 participated by donating dead tennis balls to Project Green Ball.  Each donor received a Wilson tennis towel.

At NSTC, 2,125 balls were collected at the junior doubles USTA tennis tournaments on August 27 and 28.  Special thanks to Robb Schachter for hosting us at the event and for the AmeriCorp volunteers who helped staff the collection activity.

At the Brown/Billone Club, Project Green Ball collected 1,225 balls at the junior doubles USTA tennis tournament on August 27.  Alex Cahill led PGB’s collection efforts at the tourney.  Thanks to David Brown for hosting us and for donating so many dead balls to PGB.

All total, PGB collected 3,350 balls at the Global Youth Service Day events.  Total ball collections are now at 78,982 balls.  A few pictures of the event are below and more are on our Facebook page.

In addition, Brown/Billone Club is now hosting a collection bin at its facility.  So if you play at the Club please throw your dead balls in the bin.

PGB will be collecting balls and exhibiting at the Boston Lobsters home matches this summer.  We need volunteers to help staff the event.  If you are interested in helping out, please reach out to ben@projectgreenball.com.  Home matches are on July 7, 10, 14, 15, 19, 21 and 22.

An exceptionally talented donor to Project Green Ball at Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis Club

An exceptionally talented donor to Project Green Ball at Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis Club

Ben Soloway and AmeriCorp volunteers at Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis Club

Ben Soloway and AmeriCorp volunteers at Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis Club

Volunteer Alex Cahill with ball donors at Brown/Billone Club on Global Youth Service Day

Volunteer Alex Cahill with ball donors at Brown/Billone Club on Global Youth Service Day

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Green Mitzvahs and Global Youth Service Day at Nashua Swim & Tennis and Brown/Billone Club

Five clubs and individuals contributed 5,425 balls to Project Green Ball.  PGB has now collected or has commitments for 75,632 tennis balls.

Leading the way is Pine Brook Country Club with 1,925 balls donated.  Mt. Auburn Club contributed another 1,400 balls.  And Longwood Cricket Club contributed 800 balls.  Thanks again to Jimmy Sharton at Pine Brook, Sheryl Maskell at Mt. Auburn and Tim Smith at Longwood for their support of the program.

In Farmington, Connecticut, Will Appleton collected 1,300 balls as one of his Bar Mitzvah projects.  Will collected balls from Farmington Farms Racquet Club (200) and Farmington Valley Racquet Club (200) and the rest were from his tennis playing family (900). Will is a seventh grader at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, Connecticut and plays on the varsity tennis team there.  A great picture of Will with his collected tennis balls is below.

We love the idea of Will’s Mitzvah (good deed) project and we are pleased that we were able to offer a program to which he could donate.  Last we checked, that’s a mitzvah, too!

Speaking of opportunities to donate and volunteer, please keep in mind Project Green Ball’s service project on Global Youth Service Day, a campaign of Youth Service America.  The Nashua Swim & Tennis Club and the Brown/Billone Club are participating in this service project at their USTA Junior doubles tennis tournaments on April 27 and 28.  Nashua will be holding a boy and girls Level 6 doubles tournament for 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups.  Brown/Billone will be holding a boy and girls Level 7 doubles tournament for 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups.

All balls used in each of the tournaments will be donated to Project Green Ball. We encourage all competitors to bring their dead balls from home and donate them to Project Green Ball. A collection bin and information about Project Green Ball will be available at the tournament. The first 50 competitors donating 15 or more dead balls will receive a Wilson tennis towel.

If you want to help staff our exhibition table at a tournament please reach out to Ben Soloway at ben@projectgreenball.com.  The first 10 under age 12 kids who help staff our table will receive a tennis towel.

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Project Green Ball Surpasses 70,000 Balls Collected

Project Green Ball received over 4,000 additional tennis ball donations, bringing the total of collected or committed tennis balls to 70,207.

Over 125 million balls are used every year in the United States.  Project Green Ball helps the environment by removing dead balls from the waste stream.  Once Project Green Ball collects and delivers 200,000 tennis balls to its equestrian turf manufacturing partner, IGK Equestrian will donate a riding surface to a therapeutic riding program for kids with disabilities.

Detroit area clubs led the way in donations.  Project Green Ball’s Michigan Ambassador Brandon Still worked with the Eastside Tennis and Fitness Club (1200 balls) and the Lochmoor Club (500) to collect 1700 tennis balls.  In the Boston area, the Natick Racket Club (800) continued its strong support of Project Green Ball, along with the Kingsbury Club & Spa (650), Mt. Auburn Club (200) and Wightman Tennis Center (125).

If you have dead tennis balls, rather than sending them to a landfill please reach out to info@projectgreenball.com and we can help you find a fitting resting place for them.

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Project Green Ball and Global Youth Service Day

Project Green Ball has received a $1,000 grant from Disney Friends for Change for planning and implementation of a service project on Global Youth Service Day, a campaign of Youth Service America, and for Project Green Ball’s operations.

The Nashua Swim & Tennis Club and the Brown/Billone Club have each agreed to participate in this service project at each of their USTA Junior doubles tennis tournaments on April 27 and 28.  Nashua will be holding a boy and girls Level 6 doubles tournament for 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups.  Brown/Billone will be holding a boy and girls Level 7 doubles tournament for 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups.

Project Green Ball (PGB) is a sustainability initiative to recycle used tennis balls and to donate surfaces based on the recycled balls to organizations servicing kids with disabilities or life threatening diseases. So far PGB has collected over 67,000 balls from clubs, camps, schools, the USTA New England, Wilson Sporting Goods and individuals.  After PGB collects and delivers 200,000 balls to its turf provider, the provider will donate an equestrian turf to a therapeutic riding facility for children with disabilities.

All balls used in each of the tournaments will be donated to Project Green Ball. We encourage all competitors to bring their dead balls from home and donate them to Project Green Ball. A collection bin and information about Project Green Ball will be available at the tournament. The first 50 competitors donating 15 or more dead balls will receive a Wilson tennis towel.

If you want to help staff our exhibition table at a tournament please reach out to Ben Soloway at ben@projectgreenball.com.  The first 10 under age 12 kids who help staff our table will receive a tennis towel.

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