What is Project Green Ball?

Project Green Ball 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. We currently work with the The Tennis Ball Project to recycle tennis balls into the underlayment for tennis courts. In the past we worked with an equestrian turf manufacturer to grind the balls into equestrian turf.  After PGB delivered 200,000 balls to our equestrian turf manufacturer, they donated a riding surface to program for people with disabilities. The tennis court project follows the same model.

What kind of entity is Project Green Ball?

Project Green Ball started as a project of Benjamin Soloway and Scott Soloway.

How can I help Project Green Ball?

There are a number of ways, you can help PGB.

.             You can donate balls to PGB, host a collection event or bin, or host an exhibit at a tournament at your club or facility.

.             You can like us on Facebook and spread the word about our efforts.

Where can I learn more about Project Green Ball?

Our website has a lot of information about PGB.  You can also learn more about PGB from the following articles – http://www.tennisindustrymag.com/issues/201401/index.html (page 10, “Project Green Ball Honored in Massachusetts”), USTA News Project Green Ball envisions a green future for tennis, WCVB-TV Boston Strong, “Massachusetts teen’s mission helps disabled, environment: Project Green Ball recycles balls into turf”, and NotImpossibleNow – “How to Recycle 200,000 Tennis Balls“.

Who is funding Project Green Ball?

Initially, Project Green Ball was a self-funded project of Scott and Ben Soloway.  However, Ben has been successful in obtaining a number of grants which have so far funded PGB’s operations.

When did you start collecting balls?

We started collecting balls in June 2012.  We started thinking about recycling balls in November 2011.

Why haven’t you collected more balls?

People contact us all the time from across the United States to contribute balls.  The difficulty is that we have no money to pay for shipping.  We are trying to make arrangements with shipping companies to provide some free shipping.  If you participate in our tennis court program, our partner will pay for ball shipment. We are making  headway in reducing the number of balls going to landfills and have a number of volunteers and Ambassadors who are actively trying to collect more balls.

What is an Ambassador?

An ambassador is a volunteer who has made a commitment to collect balls and be PGB’s lead in a particular geographic area.  We currently have ambassadors in Detroit, New York and Chicago.

Aren’t there other ways to recycle tennis balls?

Actually there are no accepted ways to recycle tennis balls.  There are re-use applications – bottoms of chairs, walkers and as dog chew toys.  There is also a company the reinflates balls called ReBounces.  But none of these applications reduces the number of balls going to landfills.  They extend the life and the use of the ball, but the ball still goes to a landfill at the end of its life.

The French Tennis Federation has a program called Operation Balle Jaune where they collect balls and grind them into rubberized play surfaces for kids with disabilities.  Operation Balle Jaune was the inspiration for Project Green Ball.

How many tennis balls are used annually?

In the US – 125 million.  In the world – 300 million total (including the US consumption).

How much does a tennis ball weigh?

2-2.5 oz.

How much waste have you diverted and will you divert once you collect 200,000 balls?

Assuming approximately 7 balls weigh a pound, 75,000 balls is about 5 tons of waste.  Once we collect 300,000 balls, we will have diverted approximately 20 tons of waste.

How long does it take for a tennis ball to biodegrade in a landfill?

There is no clear information on this.  We have seen various estimates of 10 to hundreds of years.

How many tennis ball-based equestrian turfs are in use?

The Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA purchased a ball-based turf in August 2012.  There are approximately 7,000 dead balls in that turf.

The UPS Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to EquiCenter, a therapeutic riding program in upstate NY, to purchase a ball-based turf.  That turf will be installed in January, 2014.

A turf was donated by our partner to the Shared Living Collaborative in Massachusetts. That turf holds 100,000 dead balls.

How many tennis ball-based tennis courts are in use?

There are 8 courts at a USTA regional tennis training center in Tenafly, NJ with tennis balls in the court underlayment. Each underlayment holds about 10,000 balls.

Have you donated any surfaces so far?

In late August 2014 we collected our 200,000th ball.  After discussion and evaluation of a number of therapeutic riding programs, we worked with IGK Equestrian to donate our  first riding surface to The Shared Living Collaborative (SLC) in Merrimac, Massachusetts. The SLC provides a variety of foster-care, in-home, day and residential services to children and adults with developmental disabilities primarily in the Merrimack Valley area. The SLC embraces principles of sustainability, social and environmental responsibility, and holds the belief that everyone, regardless of challenges encountered, can live a productive, bountiful, and fulfilled life embedded in the community and every facet of society.  The SLC strongly believes and incorporates principles and activities grounded in Eco Therapy such as Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Hippo Therapy, Equine Assisted Learning, and Carriage Driving.

Who has given balls to Project Green Ball so far?

Over 100 clubs, camps and tennis programs throughout the United States have contributed balls so far.  Many individuals have given balls as well.  You can learn more about our contributors on our website.

What role does the USTA have in Project Green Ball?

Currently the USTA does not have a role in Project Green Ball.  USTA New England has donated over 10,000 balls to PGB.

What is a Green Ball and a Green Ball Certificate?

This is our attempt at a little humor.  As national champions of USTA tournaments win “Gold Balls”, we thought we would award “Green Balls” to those individuals or organizations who make significant contributions to PGB.  We have awarded Green Ball Certificates to a number of clubs and organization who have donated more than 10,000 balls to Project Green Ball.  Any club donating more than 10,000 balls will receive a Green Ball Certificate. A “Green Ball” will be donated to an individual or organization providing exceptional support and commitment to Project Green Ball. So far no Green Balls have been awarded.

Where else will Project Green Ball be collecting balls?

Project Green Ball has collection bins at over 25 tennis clubs.

If my club wants to start a collection program for Project Green Ball who should I speak to about it?

You should send an e-mail to Ben Soloway at ben@projectgreenball.org.

How can I learn more about Project Green Ball?

You can learn more at our website at www.projectgreenball.org.  You can e-mail Ben Soloway at ben@projectgreenball.org with questions.

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