What is Renewaball®? Renewaball is a circular tennis ball. That means: made from tennis balls, but also that tennis balls are now also the raw material for tennis balls. It's a pressurized ball. We make it in Europe. We use used tennis balls for the production which we collect from tennis clubs all around the Netherlands.
The felt of the Renewaball is 100% organic: wool, cotton. It is packaged with 3 balls in a 100% recyclable pressurized tube. They are not much more expensive than regular tennis balls and it is a great ball. Why? Well, because it plays well, but also because it doesn’t pollute. Renewaball is the name of our company, too.
Where does Renewaball get its raw material from?
From tennis players who throw their used tennis balls in a Renewaball collection container, which we collect and empty twice a year. We separate those balls into felt and rubber. That felt is recycled (but not in the Renewaball because a Renewaball does not contain polyester or nylon) and the rubber is used as raw material and base for the new Renewaballs - but can also be reused for sports floors, for example.
What's wrong with a 'regular' tennis ball?
Tennis balls are very harmful to the environment. This is not very public knowledge and not everyone realizes that, but it is a problem.
Who is the Renewaball made for?
For tennis players who care about environmental pollution and climate change while at the same time continue playing tennis with a good ball. As a result, working towards UN Sustainable Development Goals 12, 13, and 14. For associations, groups, and clubs that would like to contribute to society by ensuring that balls used at their locations no longer end up in the garbage heap or the incinerator. All they have to do is place a Renewaball collection container somewhere around the club people can through their used balls in, no matter the brand. As a result, they also reduce their overall yearly waste and besides, they can of course also sell Renewaballs – making Renewaball even more circular. But above all: Renewaballs are produced to contribute to a cleaner world and provide our own part of the solution to the serious climate problems that exist today.
Is the Renewaball a gas-pressurized ball?
Yes. Gas-filled and suitable for all types of courts. Packed in a 100% recyclable pressurized tube.
How does it play?
Renewaball has asked this question to a few good tennis players, including a professional trainer. Their feedback is as follows: a nice lively ball, fast, a fraction lighter (about 2 grams) than the balls we usually play with, which are a bit stiffer. Soft on the strings, good touch. Plays comfortably and is nice and durable. The fact that it is a little lighter (within ITF standards of course) would reduce the risk of injury.
Is it ITF approved?
Not yet. But Renewaball expects to receive approval shortly; the application is in process and the ball is made to ITF specifications.
Where is the Renewaball made?
The Renewaball is made in Western Europe. By a small factory that has been making tennis balls for many decades. Real experts.
Where is the Renewaball for sale?
Right now, only in the Netherlands. Renewaball is the world's first circular tennis ball, from Dutch soil, which will be launched in the Netherlands. Will be for sale at several tennis clubs or soon online: www.renewaball.com
Is there no plastic in the Renewaball at all?
No. What's in it: Natural rubber and synthetic rubber. The felt layer is made of sheep wool - from English and Norwegian sheep - and a little cotton.
Is the Renewaball made from 100% used tennis balls?
No, 100% is not possible, that is not feasible. Almost though. This is how it works: First the felt. The felt layer of a Renewaball is made of wool with a little cotton. We can recognize this felt layer during collection and reuse it. But the felt layer of 'normal' balls is made of wool/nylon / polyester. We reuse that - but not for the Renewaball because it has an organic felt layer. By the way: the 100% organic felt of the Renewaball is woven in a felt factory where a lot of 'normal' tennis ball felt is made, with wool, nylon, and polyester. This means that in theory, our biological felt could contain traces of nylon or polyester. Then the rubber, by far the main part of a tennis ball. The percentage of the Renewaball that is made from old balls is ever increasing; however, it always contains some ‘virgin rubber.’ Based on rapidly advancing proprietary technology, Renewaball is increasingly able to identify old, worn tennis balls by brand and ball type. This is necessary to know what the 'ingredients' of each specific ball are - and what still needs to be added to make it a real Renewaball. We expect to need about a year and a half to substantially raise the used-rubber percentage. But it does cap off; as mentioned before there will always be some ‘virgin rubber’ and some other components. But every Renewaball is 100% recyclable!
Does the Renewaball have disadvantages?
Yes, we have been able to discover one so far. The felt is made entirely of wool, this was the case for all tennis balls until sometime in the early 1960s. Wool plays well, durable, and biodegradable. The felt of other branded balls usually also contains wool. This absorbs moisture more than polyester or felt. On a wet outdoor court, the Renewaball may become a little bit slower than a 'normal' ball.
If tennis balls are so bad for the environment, why has it taken so long to come up with a more sustainable option?
We do not know why other brands have not come up with this kind of innovation before; however, this is what we do know: To make a tennis ball from used tennis balls, you need to collect used tennis balls. That is quite a logistical operation, particularly when set up internationally and on a longer term basis. You then have to separate the rubber and felt from those collected balls. Until recently, there was no solution: both materials are very glued together and can hardly be pulled apart properly. Renewaball has recently mastered this process well and with this innovation, among other things, opens the door to the first circular tennis ball - and that is the Renewaball.
Is a Renewaball more expensive than the balls I normally play with?
The Renewaball is not more expensive. First of all, it is simply within the price range of 'normal' tennis balls. However, due to their environmental footprint, the tennis balls you are used to playing do impose part of the real costs on subsequent generations. ‘Normal’ tennis balls carry a negative externality with a negative social cost to society, which is not reflected in its price.
Wouldn't it be better if every brand of tennis balls supplied a circular ball?
So far, Renewaball is the only one to do so. However, every brand can contribute. Through collaboration with such another brand, Renewaball can ensure that we can pick out those balls after collection (brand / type). If we know which type of ball we are dealing with during collection, we also know exactly which ingredients will come out of that ball when we separate it into rubber and felt. This way, we can turn a specific brand ball into a Renewaball of the same brand. We are open to working with other brands and not just keeping the technology to ourselves.