The official color for the 2021 US Open might be blue, but this year the Open is going green! That’s because sustainability has become a cornerstone of the tennis community. Not only is the Open spearheading their own go-green efforts, but so are tennis apparel, tennis shoe, and tennis equipment manufactures. Even the pros are jumping on board and going green.
The US Open established its Green Initiatives in 2008. Since then, the organization has come a long way. They have successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100,000 tons. They also added multiple LEED-certified structures, including a recently replaced Louis Armstrong Stadium. Now, it’s one of the only naturally ventilated stadiums in the world. There is no need to run air conditioning, even with the roof closed. The energy-efficient fixtures and water-wise landscaping help this stadium use 40% less energy than a standard building.
In the Open’s kitchen, 700 tons of food waste have been converted into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and farms. Also, during the past 12 years, they donated roughly 100 tons of food to neighboring communities and transformed 12,000 gallons of food grease into biodiesel fuel. When it comes to maintenance, the Open adopted a cleaning policy to ensure half of the on-site cleaning supplies are Green Seal Certified or equivalent.
Finally, the US Open, along with the USTA (United States Tennis Association) collects and donates used tennis balls to various recycling programs. These include balls from matches and player practices. Recently, they started donating metal lids from tennis ball cans to the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, NY. The non-profit organization exchanges the aluminum lids for money, then uses the funds to help families stay close to their sick or injured children during treatment.
Sustainable Tennis Apparel
We are entering a new dawn of tennis apparel. Manufacturers such as Adidas, Nike, Fila, Under Armour, and New Balance are stepping up their game. They are integrating modern technologies into their apparel like moisture-wicking, water-resistant, quick-dry, stretch, and UPF protection. They are also reconsidering how tennis clothing is made. Researching both the materials and method of production, they are creating more sustainable products. Take for example Adidas. They have a pretty lofty goal to use 100% recycled polyester in their products by 2024. Their mission to reduce waste started in the late 1980’s. But it really took off when they created Parlay in 2015. From there they added Adidas Primeblue and Adidas Primegreen, also forms of recycled polyester.
Today fans and athletes alike are playing tennis in the recycled clothing. Some of the pros wearing Adidas Primeblue and Primegreen at this year’s Open are Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Garbine Muguruza, and Angelique Kerber.
Besides promoting sustainable tennis clothing, Adidas is integrating recycled materials into their latest tennis shoes. The footwear gurus are working to create eco-friendly tennis shoes. They want them to be lightweight, durable, and able to play on multiple surfaces. Again, they are using their propriety blends of PrimeBlue (recycled material made with Parley Ocean Plastic), and PrimeGreen (recycled fabrics) for various aspects of construction. But they’re not the only ones.
Nike Grind is a revolutionary idea. The concept was created about 25 years ago. Also, the iconic sports manufacture made tremendous strides toward its goal to, “Use the power of sport to create a zero-waste future and healthier planet.” Today, Nike uses manufacturing scraps, unsellable products, and worn-out sneakers to create a new, modernized form of recycled materials. They are collecting and processing waste such as scraps of rubber, foam, leather, textile, and leftover plastics. This new, innovative material is creating fashionable and sustainable products, including tennis shoes.
More and more manufacturers are coming up with sustainable ways to improve the game. As an example, the Wilson Triniti Tennis Balls are some of the first of their kind! They are performance tennis balls and made with 100% recyclable packaging. Elsewhere you’d find balls in a round, plastic can. But Wilson packages these balls in a unique octagonal paper container. Also, the Engage Core features a Plastomer material that extends ball longevity. With 50% more flexible felt than a standard ball, it will last longer than a single match. These balls are a great environmentally-friendly option. Plus, they are USTA and ITF approved. Wilson is also working towards eliminated the plastic tops on their tennis ball cans. They have made various attempts starting with the Wilson US Open balls.
Be sure to check out all of these sustainable products and more at TennisExpress.com.