Where are 21,000 used tennis balls on Maui ending up?
A few Maui tennis players, with the financial support of the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management, have shipped more than 21,000 used tennis balls to the mainland for recycling over the past four years.
Maui Tennis Ball Recycling, LLC was created in the summer of 2018 to collect the used balls that have a significant quantity of non-decomposable, methane-producing rubber waste.
The recycling program has saved more than 2,700 pounds of balls from going into Maui’s limited landfill space.
The original recycling grant provided funds to purchase the dedicated collection bins at two county park facilities: Wells and Kula. In addition, it covered the cost of shipping the balls in 2018 through 2020. In 2021, Maui County stepped up again and provided part of the funding to support the recycling effort.
Tennis players will use three tennis balls per match and usually discard them afterward because they lose their bounce. The old tennis balls find a new life as rubber crumbs used in the construction of new tennis courts and playgrounds.
For more information or to contribute to the project, with 100% of donations going towards shipping costs, go to www.mauitennisballrecycling.com. All labor is done by volunteers.