Logan Hine loves playing tennis and is on his high school’s varsity team. But the Eagle Scout with Troop 64 in Maugansville, Md., soon realized something about the sport.
“Tennis is an extremely wasteful sport,” Logan says. “Some balls are used for less than an hour and then thrown away. Most balls are not played with more than one time.”
Millions of these discarded rubber balls end up in landfills every year. So, Logan partnered with Recycle Balls, a non-profit organization that specializes in recycling tennis balls.
The group places bins by tennis courts across the country, which are then shipped to a recycling facility in Vermont. The balls are ground up and incorporated into material for new tennis courts and other rubber products. Recycle Balls has collected 1.4 million balls since 2017 — about 1,000 of which Logan has donated.
Logan’s efforts are part of a BSA award he’s working on: the William T. Hornaday Award.
Conservationist Dr. William Temple Hornaday established the Wildlife Protection Medal to inspire Americans to save this country’s animals. After his death in 1937, the medal was named after him and became a BSA award.
Today, it can be earned as a badge, medal or certificate. Some require doing multiple environmentally-focused projects. To learn more about the Hornaday Awards and how you, your unit or your Scout can earn one, click here.
So far, Logan has done two service projects for the award: removing an invasive species along the Appalachian Trail and installing a 16-foot-tall nesting tower for a threatened migratory bird.
The tennis ball recycling project has taken two months of work thus far. Logan has recruited his school district and a school district in the neighboring county to sign on with the ball-recycling program. He did the same at tennis clubs in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and got a bin to put around the popular public courts in his hometown.
He will work on the recycling project all this year.