Wilton tennis players send old balls on to new life

Most people might think the only use for an old tennis ball is throwing it to your pet dog, but when the bounce is too far gone for the pooch, there’s still life in that dead ball. It can be recycled.

Thanks to Gerri Fox of Wilton and Northeastern University, unusable tennis balls may be deposited in a recycling bin in the hut at the public courts on Route 7. The bin is for tennis balls only, no other materials should be dropped in.

“Did you know that tennis balls take 450 years to decompose in landfills?” Fox told The Bulletin in an email. “During this time they release harmful methane gases into the air. Unfortunately, less than 0.05% of tennis balls are recycled and 125 million tennis balls end up in landfills each year.”

Tennis balls placed in the bin will be sent to RecycleBalls in Vermont, where they are ground into “crumb rubber” that is incorporated into surfaces such as tennis courts, equestrian turf, rubber sidewalks/surfacing and playground turf, Fox said. According to RecycleBalls’ website, the material can also be used as mulch and a replacement for stucco.

Anyone interested in implementing this program at another court or tennis club, or for more information, may email Fox at gerrifox28@gmail.com or call 203-858-5857.

Information: recycleballs.org.