Waste management and recycling companies would like to make something clear: Your bowling ball does not belong in the recycling bin.
Sure polyester is generally a recyclable plastic, but neither the inexpensive balls ready for use at your local alley nor the urethane ones used by professional bowlers are capable of being recycled.
The website Curbed notes that Sims Municipal Recycling in New York's Bronx borough sees three to four bowling balls coming in on trucks from residential customers every day. They're another form of "wishcycling" and end up going to landfills along with about 20 percent of the materials that arrive at Sims each year.
It's not that it's impossible to recycle bowling balls, but impractical.
"We could take a bowling ball and grind it down into asphalt," former ball designer Ronald Hickland Jr. told Curbed. But the process takes more energy — and costs more money — than it was worth.
As a result, bowling balls are moving into the same discussion of extended producer responsibility, or EPR, as single-use plastics such as packaging and bottles.
Tom Outerbridge, general manager of Sims, said that updating recycling systems through EPR funds could also go toward making it feasible to recycle bowling balls and other difficult items.
Click through to read the story on Curbed. Beyond recycling, it has some nice insights into the value of high-end bowling balls and just why professional bowlers have so many of them.