Recycling Mystery: Can I Recycle Pickeballs?

Pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in America, has gained immense popularity. However, pickleball players often face disposing of old or damaged balls. Many players seek to recycle these balls rather than merely throw them away.

To recycle pickleballs, first, identify the type of plastic from which your ball is made. You will likely find this information on the packaging or by visiting the manufacturer’s website. Pickleballs are usually made of LDPE (#4 plastic), which is generally more recyclable.

Use the Earth911 Recycling Locator, enter your ZIP code, and search for “#4 rigid plastic” to find nearby recycling facilities that accept this type of plastic. However, please be aware that curbside programs and recycling centers that take these rigid plastics may not accept pickleballs because they are small and could jam sorting machinery. Call before you bin or drop-off.

Ask Your Court To Add a Recycling Bin

P3 Pickleball has introduced collection boxes for use at local courts — when full, the boxes are shipped back to the company for recycling. Other organizations and pickleball makers are working to create collection programs. Although these initiatives are still early, players can express their interest in participating. One such project is Service Pickleball; court operators can request a recycling bin, which comes with a postage-paid label to return it when full. Another is the Re-Pickle Project, which is organizing a pickleball recycling network but has not begun collecting balls yet.

If no recycling is available, try reusing old pickleballs as garage parking guides and other creative projects. Visit Pickleball Central and Jennifer’s Pickleball Blog for craft ideas.

As the sport grows, players must be attentive precyclers, choosing pickleballs that will be recyclable when broken or worn out. Ask at the court about getting a collection bin, and emphasize that the bin needs to be associated with a reliable recycler that will process the balls responsibly. If you take the time to put balls in a bin, be sure the court is following through on its recycling promise.

Help Grow a Sustainable Sport

With some research and effort, players can take steps towards more sustainable disposal of their used pickleballs. Also, do everything you can to extend the life of your pickleballs by using them for practice or drills even after they’ve lost their bounce for competitive play.

Now, get out to the court and practice your dink shot. Dominate the court, and encourage your friends to choose recyclable equipment.

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