Recycling on Campus Tennis Courts

Project Lead: Annie Goransson, Emily McKeon, Lin King

Sponsors: Cal Athletics & Campus Recycling and Refuse Services

TGIF Grant: $1,386

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Application Metrics

Status: Complete

Project Description: Funding will allow for the purchase of recycling bins for 21 campus tennis courts and the implementation of education, outreach, and donation programs for recycling and reuse of tennis equipment.

Goals: Install recycling bins at 21 UC Berkeley campus tennis courts. Conduct pre- and post-installation waste audits in conjunction with CRRS. Post recycling signage to assist court patrons with correct recycling behaviors and to support campus recycling education efforts. Increase the visibility and opportunities of recycling to the Cal tennis teams and club teams, as well as general patrons who use the tennis courts and tennis supporters. Support UC Berkeley in reaching its goal of zero waste by 2020. Investigate donation and take-back programs for used tennis balls and tennis equipment. Participate in RecycleMania. Collaborate with Cal Athletics and share practices with other Cal sports teams.

2013 Poster

Cal Women's Tennis Team promoting and participating in RecycleMania 2012:
"Don't be trashy- RECYCLE."

Cal Women's Tennis Team during RecycleMania

2012-2013 Accomplishments

  • Project leader Annie Goransson was interviewed by the Daily Cal reagrding her TGIF project and class project.
  • In April 2013, 36 Rubbermaid Brute Round containers and 36 Rubbermaid Bottle/Can Recycling tops were ordered with the help of Tyler Carson, a CRRS Staff Assistant.
  • Athletics is in charge of bin distribution and collection of waste and recycling.
  • Annie researched recycling and donation options for used tennis balls. Ideas included recycling tennis balls into artificial turf and donating tennis balls to schools who use them under furniture. Annie will also be looking into securing collection bins for the used tennis balls.
  • Bins and educational signage were installed at the Channing, Hearst, and Hellman courts.

Project leader Annie Goransson wrote a report entitled Recycling and Reusing Tennis Balls: Is There a Sustainable Game Plan?
Abstract: Tennis balls are made mostly of rubber, with zinc as the main metal element. We found no serious health hazard associated with zinc in tennis balls, but more research would be valuable. While there is an industry for re-pressurizing the balls to prolong their lifespan, there is no option for ultimately recycling the material of the balls in the U.S. The approach to assess the possibility for recycling tennis balls was through elemental analysis and exploring recycling opportunities for similar materials. Since 2009, France has developed a system for collecting and recycling balls and so far 13 athletic fields have been constructed from recycled tennis balls. The only known initiative to recycle the balls in the U.S has been Project Green Ball in Massachusetts. They are currently in the process of collecting tennis balls to make the first equestrian turf. This report demonstrates that it is possible to recycle the rubber in the balls for use as other surfaces in addition to equestrian turf such as athletic surfaces and play grounds.

2014 Final Report
  • Bin Orders and Installations
    • Tyler Carson, a Campus Recycling and Refuse Services Staff Assistant, helped place the bin order, retrofitted the lids with holes, and assisted with the install for this project in April 2013.
    • The order consisted of:
      • 36 Rubbermaid Brute Round Containers, 10 Gallon, Blue
      • 36 Rubbermaid Bottle/Can Recycling Tops, 10 Gallon, Blue
  • Signage
    • Signage for the bins was designed and installed in Fall 2014.
  • Tennis Balls
    • Tennis ball reuse or recycling is an excellent project for the Zero Waste Research Center. Annie's report highlights several programs that take old or deflated or used tennis balls. One program revives old tennis balls so that they can be used again (reBounces) while another recycles the rubber of tennis balls into playground surfaces and turf for equestrian fields (Project Green Ball). In addition, Recreational Sports is currently collecting tennis balls for recycling at the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF). There might be opportunity to partner on collecting them on the courts and recycling them in the same manner.
    • As a possible collection bin for tennis balls, Custodial Services has extra 23 gallon yellow slim jim bins that could be repurposed into tennis ball collection bins. Also, CRRS will be phasing out green lids with circular holes for cans and bottles which can also be used as lids to collect the tennis balls. These options could be researched by the Zero Waste Research Center before implementing it such a practice in the campus  tennis courts.

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.