The oceans are choking in plastic and parks are clogged with litter. Even players at Wimbledon came under attack this year from Kyle Edmund. What can tennis players do about Britain’s rubbish problem?
“Don’t Mess with Texas!”
These are just some of the slogans used around the world to persuade residents not to be litter bugs. Yet still people drop trash as if it was nothing to do with them. Complaining about dirty courts at this year’s Wimbledon, British number 1 Kyle Edmund said “Players are too lazy to pick up their water bottles, myself included. We're professional tennis players, we should obviously look after our rubbish.”
People copy behaviour. If one person drops litter, so does another and there have been many attempts to break the cycle and change behaviour. There is the fun approach with ‘ballot bins’ where you vote for your favourite footballer or super-hero by putting cigarette butts in different bins. Then there is bribery – in 2014, McDonalds in Stockholm gave food for discarded cans– 40 cans got you a Big Mac. Birmingham tried to appeal to locals' better instincts with its Bin it for Good campaign, supported by the Wrigley Company. The more rubbish deposited in a bin, the more money was given to charity. Meanwhile Merton Council, where the Wimbledon Championships take place, uses social pressure. Earlier this year, it named and shamed over 100 litter louts with details of their fines.
Tennis courts don’t always have litter bins, but as one campaign puts it: Your litter, Your problem. If there is no bin, take your rubbish home! Better still, avoid creating it in the first place. Buy yourself a water bottle you can use time and again. Cut or bend the ring pulls from cans, so small animals don’t get them stuck round their necks, feet or beaks and recycle your balls! The compay Recycaball (www.recycaball.com) works with 1300 clubs and coaches around the UK and pays £18.00 for each batch of 100 balls (18p per ball) or £40 for 200 balls (20p per ball). Once you have enough, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reusable courier sack and shipping label – they cover all shipping costs - or swap your first 200 balls for a recycling bin (right).