Sadly, not all types of tennis balls can be recycled or reused, due to both the secondary market demand and the way in which they are manufactured.
Also, the standard in which the used balls come to us is also very important. We cannot process balls that are too old, damaged or dirty, and so we have a minimum standard of acceptance which is outlined below with some pictures for clarity.
Some types of balls can be recycled & reused, but the market demand is so low that we cannot pay for them. These are displayed below.
Most clubs and players use the market standard branded tennis balls. These are generally Head, Slazenger, Wilson, Dunlop, Penn, Barbalat etc to name but a few of the popular brands. These are balls that we can pay you for at our standard rate of 15p per ball, these are all acceptable subject to their condition, outlined below.
Low pressure multi colored training balls are acceptable for recycling. These are generally Yellow/Orange, Yellow/Green etc but may come in other colors. They come from a variety of manufacturers. Again, these are acceptable for recycling at 15p per ball, subject to their condition, outlined below.
These balls are generally disposed of after a competition, and are usually good quality branded balls, which have lost their bounce due to the heavy competition use. They will be clean, unmarked and with logo's. These are acceptable.
We understand that many players mark their own balls so they can collect them at the end of the match. These are usually a symbol, or initials, or a mark of some sort. If these are not excessive, then we can accept them.
Heavily marked balls are not acceptable, nor are balls with profanity or inappropriate symbols.
Fair wear and tear..
These balls make up the lions share of what we receive. These will be standard branded tennis balls, used over the course of a season or competition. They will be clean, and with logo's either mostly or partially worn away. Some of these will be pen marked as previously described. These are acceptable.
Threadbare, frayed and worn nap..
As tennis balls become worn, then the nap starts to wear out. If the balls you are saving have already worn down to this level then we cannot accept them, and if sent they will not be paid for. Clubs who use Tennis ball machines for serve training often find their training balls are worn in this way due the action of the machine.
These are not acceptable and should not be sent.
Heavily weathered, discoloured, wet..
This ones pretty self explanatory. Some club grounds staff will have an end of year clean up on the outdoor courts, and those sneaky lost balls hidden in the grass, or under the pile of leaves will be collected, together with a wealth of litter and insects.. These balls will be too wet and dirty for us to process, so please don't send them. Wet balls especially are problematic, as they have to be dried out again before we can even consider disposal.
Colour stained balls..
Balls that are used on outdoor clay courts very quickly take on a reddish clay stain from the surface. Likewise, balls that are used on blue courts take on a blue colouring.
This staining is permanent, and these balls cannot be cleaned, leaving them too dirty for us to process, so please don't send them.
This staining seems to happen when balls are left out on courts in wet weather, and soak up a stain from the court type below. These stains cannot be removed, and render the balls useless to us as we cannot reuse them.
Split or torn balls..
Any balls that are split, torn, or obviously damaged should not be sent as they cannot be reused.
Sun bleached balls..
Any balls that have been lying out on the outdoor courts in the sun, for weeks on end, will usually be sun-bleached on one side. These should not be sent as they cannot be reused.
Fake & reproduction tennis balls..
These are the type commonly found in pet shops, supermarkets or cheap DIY stores. They are generally made overseas and are either felt covered cardboard & rubber, or solid rubber balls.
They come in a variety of colours. These are also sometimes souvenir balls, branded with logos from corporate events. These are not acceptable and should not be sent
Damaged nap & felt..
Balls with heavily damaged or frayed nap. Clubs who use Tennis ball machines for serve training often find their training balls are worn in this way due the action of the machine.
These are not acceptable and should not be sent.
If we receive any balls that are unacceptable, in line with the guidance published above, then sadly we cannot pay for them.
We have a policy that we don't send any balls we receive to landfill, and so if we cannot find a way to reuse, repurpose or otherwise extend the life of a tennis ball, then we store them long term until such time comes that we can.
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