Magazine article E Magazine

Behind the Greens: 5 Questions of Environmental Leaders

Magazine article E Magazine

Behind the Greens: 5 Questions of Environmental Leaders

Article excerpt

At a typical tennis match, a player uses a new can of balls just once. After the match, the used balls wind up in a practice basket or ball machine, but it's not long before they're bound for the landfill. Rebounces, an Arkansas-based company founded by tennis enthusiast Bill Dirst, has developed a method to give used tennis balls a second bounce.

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1. E Magazine: What sparked the idea for your business?

Bill Dirst: We are avid tennis players and passionate about the sport. We didn't like throwing balls away, but we knew of no other outlet for disposing of them environmentally. Some tennis facilities and pros donate used balls to animal shelters and other charitable uses, but that's only a very small quantity of balls. While serving as volunteer tennis teachers in rural Arkansas, we saw that buying new tennis balls for teaching sessions was the biggest cost to a facility. In 2007, we concluded that not only was there a business opportunity here, but there was also a need for an environmental service.

2. E: How does Rebounces work?

B.D.: From a waste-disposal standpoint, it is presently too costly to separate the felt from the rubber ball because of its adhesive. Instead, we invented a way to "recharge" used tennis balls. Our proprietary technology allows us to breathe "bounce" back into balls and resell them [at a discount] as practice balls.

3. E: Who do you work with?

B.D.: Rebounces is trying to help tennis facilities and tennis pros "green" their practice sessions. …

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