Tennis Net Recycling - Green Tennis Nets Initiative

Customers have been asking us what they should do with their old, damaged tennis nets when they replace them. What should the eco-conscious tennis club manager do to reduce tennis nets piling up in landfill? Can a tennis net be put in the recycling bin?

We set out to investigate and we were surprised by what we found…

Consumer behaviour is changing as people become more aware of the environmental impact that consumption has on our planet. As a company passionate about tennis, we want to help make tennis more sustainable. The tennis net is one of the items that clubs replace most regularly and so it is a perfect item to start with.

Tennis net consumption in the UK 

There are approximately 24,000 tennis courts in the UK at around 5,300 registered venues. This does not include private courts. 93% of these courts are outdoor and therefore nets are exposed to the elements. We estimate that the average net is replaced every 3-5 years which means that UK tennis venues may dispose of 6,000 tennis nets annually. The average tennis net weighs 7kg which amounts to 42 tonnes of waste tennis net every year. 

Why tennis net recycling is problematic

Net material is most often knotted from polyethylene twine. Polyethylene is a very popular plastic also used for packaging, toys and bottles and is widely recycleable. But a tennis net is made up of several components including the vinyl or polyester head band, the PVC coated steel cable, and possibly vinyl or polyester edge binding tapes for added re-enforcement. 

Matthew Ayres from recycling specialist PlasGran explains:

“ with many plastic items, the main issue with recycling is mixed materials.”

The combination of different plastics in one item is a problem for recycling plants. They are not equipped and/or adequately compensated for time consuming work to manually separate polymers.

As a consequence, you need to pick your old net apart into its separate components, for it to be recycled easily. 

Black tennis nets are a problem

In a recycling centre, different types of plastic are separated using optical scanners. However these scanners do not work as well with black or very dark coloured materials and so black polymers are often rejected and go into landfill.

This problem could be overcome if clubs switched to green tennis nets. As long as your court surface is not green, a green net will work just as well as the standard black net.

Buy better to buy less

A simple option to reducing your tennis net consumption is to ‘buy better to buy less’. If you buy a high quality net that lasts 6-8 years instead of a cheap one that last only 3-4 years, you have cut the environmental impact in half. In addition, you have saved your club money and yourself time in purchasing and installing new nets quite so frequently. 

When you are looking for a quality net, choose a braided net over a twisted net. Braided nets last longer and perform better. We also recommend going for a net thickness of at least 3.2mm. Anything less will not last long outdoors. Other indications of a lasting, quality net are several rows of double layer net along the top, and a quad stitched headband.

Repurposing tennis nets

Even the best tennis net will need to be replaced eventually. We are working on a range of ideas of up-cycling or repurposing old tennis nets to reduce their impact on the environment. Ideas that are currently being discussed are turning old tennis nets: 

  • into hammocks
  • kids’ playground climbing nets
  • equestrian hay nets 

If you have any additional ideas, please do share them with us. We would love to hear from you.

Summary

Tennis nets are not easily recycled in the UK at the moment. To get your net recycled in your local recycling center, consider purchasing green nets and try to unpick it into its separate components.

Buy better to buy less. Increase the life span of your net by purchasing a better quality net that will last longer. We recommend our WIMBLEDON net or our ROYAL net. Both are extremely heavy duty braided nets with 3.2 and 3.8mm net thickness respectively. Both are available in green. 

tennis net recycling

 

If we have inspired you to think about up-cycling or repurposing your old tennis net, please do share your ideas with us. Please follow us on Twitter and Linked-in where we will share how we are turning our tennis recycling ideas into reality. 

If you would like to learn more about our tennis nets, please check out our Ultimate Guide to Buying Tennis Nets .

You can purchase quality tennis nets from our online shop here: Tennis Nets Online Shop
We are currently running a tennis net promotion with £10 off when you buy two nets.


This article was possible thanks to help from:
TerraCycle https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/
PlasGran https://plasgranltd.co.uk
AELTC https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/atoz/sustainability.html

Can we recycle old tennis nets?