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The Pickleball International Committee Launches “Plasticfree Pickleball™” Sustainability Campaign

November 27 2023 - News Release News Editorial

In what will be one of the most impactful sustainability challenges for sports globally, the Pickleball International Committee, the premier world governing body of the sport of pickleball, is launching “Plasticfree Pickleball™”, a campaign to replace plastic in the manufacture of pickleballs using an environmentally and economically-viable alternative material.

The Pickleball International Committee Launches “Plasticfree Pickleball™” Sustainability Campaign

“Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and on a trajectory to become one of the biggest sports in the world,” stated Terry Cecil, CEO & Chief Sustainability Officer of the Pickleball International Committee. “The sport has high-intrinsic value for players and potentially sponsors, but we have some hurdles to overcome from a sustainability standpoint.  Unfortunately, in its current form, pickleball is a plastic-pollution machine and the sport will face problems if we don’t take action. For those that want to see pickleball included in the Olympics, it will never happen due to the IOC’s commitment to sustainability.”

“Pickleballs are made of plastic with a limited lifecycle and they end up in waste streams which creates nano and microplastic pollution,” Cecil added. “We can’t allow billions of these balls to pollute the Earth through the playing of the sport. Plastic pollution is toxic and, next to climate change, one of the leading problems for the planet. When we find the solution to replacing plastic with an alternative material, we’ll be delivering an historic impact for earth’s future through collaborative innovation.”

Nano and microplastic have been found in every area of Earth including our oceans, the Himalayas, the Mariana Trench, Antarctica, the Amazon. The damage from plastic is not only causing huge environmental impact, but also creating major health issues for humans through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. Nano and microplastic is found in human organs (i.e., lungs, heart), blood, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. A recent research study in Japan found that microplastic is in clouds and has an impact on climate change.

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