Padel and tennis balls on World Environment Day 2020
Tennis and padel balls at the World Environment Day 2020
Once again this year we celebrate World Environment Day.
June 5th is the most important date in the official United Nations calendar to promote environmental action. This special day has been celebrated since 1974, for almost half a century now.
And this year it is even more special as we are currently experiencing one of the most serious global health crises in a long, long time. A crisis that shows us how fragile and sensitive our planet and all life on it is.
We have reached very high levels of development, especially in recent decades, thanks to oil, a cheap and accessible source of energy. But we have also discovered and accepted that it has had and continues to have some very serious side effects: pollution, diseases, contamination of the seas, irrational consumption of resources, production of a huge amount of waste that is not recycled, melting of the poles, climate change, a very high reduction in the planet’s biodiversity and surely many other consequences of which we are not yet aware.
In short, we have a ‘balls’ problem. And we want to talk about tennis and paddle balls, as it is a good example of an irrational and irresponsible model of production, consumption and environmental management. At least as we have known it so far.
As users, the problem we have with padel and tennis balls is that they run out of pressure after a couple of matches, or after a few weeks, and we have to throw them away. We throw them away, give them to the dog or they end up lost who knows where.
But this is only a small part of the problem. There are many other aspects that are part of the problem with the way we use balls.
From an industry point of view:
Currently tennis and paddle balls are mainly made from synthetic materials, both plush and rubber, which are derived from hydrocarbons (from petroleum).
For every kilo of rubber manufactured, 4 kilos of CO2 are generated and released into the atmosphere.
They are transported by ship on a month-long voyage from the Far East. They are then redistributed to all points of sale. This means a lot of energy consumption and more CO2 released into the atmosphere.
These materials are not biodegradable and today there are no efficient recycling systems in place and those that do exist are very local and have little impact.
Therefore the carbon footprint of the ball sector is enormous and we are still far from having a circular economy system to manage it.
And from the player’s point of view:
We buy a can of balls that after a couple of games have already lost the right pressure to be able to play as it should be.
And if we open a pot and we don’t play again in a couple of weeks we have balls without pressure, without the right pot.
We spend money on balls that after a short time we can’t use (or we use them but without pressure) even though the ball itself, its materials, the plush and the rubber, are in perfect condition. We throw away a product in perfect condition just because it is no longer pressurised.
We are throwing our money away and we are also playing with loose balls.
The good news is that there is a solution that mitigates and eliminates much of these problems.
By re-pressurising padel and tennis balls we will enjoy a perfect playing experience with the right pressure and bounce, we will get the full life out of the balls, we will get the most out of our ball investment, we will reduce our carbon footprint and generate less non-biodegradable and non-recycled waste.
In short, we will make efficient and responsible use and consumption while saving money and enjoying the best possible playing and training experience. As it should be. And it will be.
We have many challenges to achieve environmental sustainability. Will we all have achieved by the next International Environment Day in 2021 an efficient management of the use and consumption of padel and tennis balls?