Wake Forest teen uses senior project to recycle tennis balls, help save the environment

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Grant Smith, a senior at Franklin Academy in Wake Forest, is on a mission to collect as many tennis balls as he can.

So far, the tennis player has collected just over 1,000 with a goal of collecting 1,000 more.

Smith loves tennis, so when he was tasked with a senior project at his school, it took center stage.

Studying the impact of rubber waste in the environment, Smith noticed a lot of wasted tennis balls.

"Since I love tennis, I specifically researched tennis ball waste," he said. "Tennis balls actually take 450 years to decompose in landfills."

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So, Smith started to round up as many as he could to recycle. Eventually, each ball will be smashed and melted before being formed into new tennis courts.

That process, though, won't happen until each ball is well worn out, thanks to the dogs at Saving Grace Animal Rescue.

It's the shelter where he rescued his dog, Bumper. For Smith, it was a a no brainer to see if the dogs at the shelter could play with the tennis balls before each were recycled into something new.

"We always need donations," said owner of Saving Grace, Molly Goldston. "Anything with enrichment is always great."

So far, the partnership has been a hit with the dogs. Smith said what he's doing hits the "three Rs:" reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Those who would like donation, can drop ballls off at a bin set up at Flaherty Courts (1226 N White St.) in Wake Forest.
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