Plastic pollution is one of the many environmental crises facing our planet today, with an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic floating freely through our oceans, lakes, rivers, and other marine environments. At this rate, plastic is set to be more abundant than fish in the oceans within the next few decades, a fact that has prompted many environmental groups and eco-minded companies to try to make a change.
Plastic is everywhere and virtually impossible to avoid, making it incredibly difficult to address the growing problem. Some governments and local authorities have begun implementing city, state, and country-wide bans on certain plastic products, but with everything from food to entertainment packaged in plastic, the progress has been slow. The only real solution to the problem of plastic pollution is to stop using plastic altogether and to eliminate the need for disposable petroleum-based plastic products.
At Pela, we’ve been offering consumers a compostable alternative to traditional plastic phone cases, sunglasses, and similar products for years, and have managed to stop more than 300,000 pounds of plastic from ever being produced. Now, more companies are beginning to take notice of the serious environmental problems facing our generation, and have also begun to offer eco-friendly alternatives to their customers.
Today, we’re going to talk about a unique eco-friendly product that is making sports and leisure more environmentally sustainable: the biodegradable golf ball.
The Problem With Traditional Golf Balls
Most traditional golf balls are made from plastics like polyurethane, high resistance resins, and synthetic rubber polymers. These plastics are the same kinds of plastics found in single-use and disposable plastic products and are the same kinds of plastics floating around our oceans poisoning precious eco-systems and destroying the lives of thousands of marine creatures.
Items like traditional plastic golf balls can’t naturally degrade, and only break down into smaller pieces of plastic, which can be spread even further. In lakes and oceans, plastic items that break down into these microplastics can be spread for miles, shedding microscopic pieces of plastic that will eventually be picked up by an unwitting fish, sea turtle, or marine bird.
But, golf happens on land, why should we be worried about golf balls in the ocean?
In fact, not all golf happens on land. Many golfers like to hit balls into lakes off of the shore, into oceans off of cruise ships, and off of cliffs into rivers and streams that feed into oceans miles away. When these balls land in the water, they begin a cycle that could take centuries, slowly breaking down into microplastics that poison the environment.
Biodegradable Golf Balls
While hitting a golf ball far into the ocean might be a fun pass time, the fun is quickly erased when you realize just how detrimental this activity can be for the environment. To address the issue, several companies have begun manufacturing biodegradable golf balls, designed to provide the fun of regular golfing without contributing to plastic pollution.
Biodegradable golf balls are able to break down in a natural environment and contain zero plastics or harsh compounds. Some biodegradable golf balls are designed specifically for use in the water and dissolve after just a few minutes of submersion. Others are actually good for the environment and contain ingredients that feed local wildlife or help to keep the environment free of toxic chemicals.
Best Biodegradable Golf Balls
A number of companies have caught on to the biodegradable golf ball trend, so if you’d like to hit the greens and hit some bio-balls, you’ve got your pick of quite the variety. Here, we’ve chosen three of our favorites for their environmentally-friendly features, all of which would make an excellent gift for your golf-loving friend or family member!
UMaine Lobster Shell Golf Balls
Maine is famous for its lobster, so it should come as no surprise to learn that landfills in this coastal state are often filled with lobster shells. Researchers from the University of Maine have found a way to repurpose these shells, keeping them out of landfills and creating an exciting, zero-waste product in the process. The solution: turn lobster shells into golf balls! These balls dissolve about a week after hitting the water and return vital calcium and nutrients to the ocean in the process.
AlbusGolf Fish Feed Eco-Balls
Rather than simply becoming neutral upon entering a lake, ocean, or river, AlbusGolf Eco-Balls transform into usable, useful fish food once they enter the water. Featuring a dissolvable exterior and fish-food-filled core, these balls dissolve in under 48 hours, releasing delicious and nutritious food that can safely be consumed by fish in a variety of marine conditions.
Biodegradable Golf Balls
A company dedicated to a single cause, balls made by Biodegradable Golf Balls contain just two simple, non-toxic ingredients: Corn starch and polyvinyl alcohol. Biodegradable Golf Balls safely dissolve in water, leaving nothing behind to be accidentally eaten by marine creatures.