Sustainable Soccer Balls – Eco Soccer Balls

As sustainability becomes more important many companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint or reduce waste. The Soccer industry is no stranger to this concept. 

Think about all the soccer balls that are bought, used, and eventually thrown out every year. Where do you think the leather, rubber, and plastic end up? In landfills around the world. Yikes! 

There are a few eco-friendly and sustainable football options out there. We’re going to take a look at how a well know soccer ball manufacturer addresses the issue and how an eco-friendly startup has tackled the problem. 

Do Recycle Plastic Bottles Make a Good Soccer Ball?

Select thins so! Select Sport A/S is a well-known manufacturer of soccer balls and other soccer equipment. They have been producing footballs since 1947, using what some would call “toxic materials.” But hey everyone can turn over a new leaf, right? And that they have. Select has become an advocate for sustainability. You can see more about their initiatives on the Select Site.

One of the main products that has come out of the sustainable and earth-friendly mindset is their PLANET Football. We love Select balls and they routinely end up in our list of the top 5 soccer balls. So we were excited to see this addition to their product line. They also have Futsal Planet ball too. 

How Many PET Bottles Does it Take to Make a Sustainable Soccer Ball?

You might ask, “How do you make a sustainable soccer ball?” The PLANET football is made from recycled PET plastic bottles. Each ball contains 11 plastic bottles. That’s almost a 12-pack! Just think that 36-pack of water bottles you have in the basement could help make 3 balls. 

The bottles are used in the outer material and the inner underlining of the ball. Plus instead of using synthetic materials, they use natural latex that comes from rubber trees for the ball’s bladder and the lamination on the underlining. 

That means 60% of the ball is made up of natural or recycled materials. Nice!  

Select Sport A/S PLANET Soccer Ball

select planet soccer ball - sustainable soccer ball

The ball looks great. It has the classic Select design and comes in.. can you guess what color?

Eco Green. Of course! Select’s balls often seem a bit hard at first this one is no different. But it also feels a bit plasticky. Could that be because of the recycled bottles? Well, probably. But this makes it more durable for a variety of playing surfaces.

It meets all FIFA standards. Overall though it is a solid ball that holds up to competitive play similar to its less environmentally friendly counterparts.

Pros:

  • Complies with FIFA regulations
  • Comes in sizes 4 and 5
  • Classic Select design 
  • Comes in an eco-green color

Cons:

  • Some have said it seems a bit plasticky at first.
  • They could have taken it a bit further and made it biodegradable or also recyclable

Eco Sports Eco-Friendly Soccer Ball

Eco Sports is a sustainability start-up that was born from the founder, Troy Atkin’s passion for the environment. With this, they developed the Eco-Friendly Soccer Ball.

Instead of using recycled materials, they have taken football production to a new, dare I say, “greener” level. Their balls are made of TPU a biodegradable, recyclable, vegan material. Plus, they point out that they ship their balls deflated on purpose because it saves on shipping resources, such as space and fuel.

deflated eco friendly soccer balls size 3 and siz 5

That means no animals were harmed to make the balls. Plus, no materials that are bad for the environment (remember the landfills?!?) such as PVC, PU, or composite leather are used. So when you chuck your ball out the outer material will biodegrade in 3-5 years. Yay!

To make things even better. Every time you buy a ball they donate 10% to charity/non-profits. 

How Does the Eco-Friendly Soccer Ball Perform? 

Eco Sports - eco friendly soccer ball

Full disclosure, Eco Sports was nice enough to send us a couple of the balls to try out. We received a size 3 that my son tested at practice and at home and a size 5 that I tested in some of my games. 

Here’s some of the feedback I received from teammates. The ball is super sticky at first. Often times when trying to do moves and tricks it stuck to player’s cleats. Especially, those wearing leather cleats compared to synthetic cleats. My son has a pair of synthetic cleats and he said he thought the ball was slippery. I’m not sure if it is repelled by synthetic (toxic) cleats, who knows? 

We also discovered that when striking the ball it sounds flat even though it definitely wasn’t. This was a bit uncanny for some players. The games we played were on turf and for the most part, the ball held up well with the abrasiveness of the turf. It did however show some wear and tear after several months of use. 

eco friendly soccer ball with wear and tear

Overall it is a good ball to play with and stands up to the wear and tear of grass and artificial turf field, but over time shows some wear. 

My son’s review of the size 3 ball is that it is lightweight and playful, but slippery. In fact, my son has been requesting he use the Eco Sports soccer ball instead of his bigger named Nike and adidas balls. Since we review soccer balls, he has quite a collection. *sigh*

Pros:

  • Biodegradable, Recyclable, and Vegan
  • A sturdy ball that stands up to a variety of surfaces
  • Affordably priced

Cons:

  • Can feel a bit sticky 
  • Sounds flat when striking the ball even though it is not
  • Only one design/color
  • Not as durable as other synthetic balls

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