Entrepreneurs are tapping into the current sustainability trend
With DOTS.RECYCLING, Mikkel and Casper are engaged in a project that exudes a sustainable approach, where the keywords are reuse, environment, climate, and innovation. These have been key elements from the outset. The plan has always been to utilise as much material from tennis balls as possible. The material not used for felt pads is intended for shoe soles, shoelaces, and insoles.
Mikkel and Casper discover that 350 million tennis balls are produced globally each year, and less than 1% are recycled. The 1% that is recycled either gets a new life as dog toys or as felt pads in various schools – albeit with a whole tennis ball, which may be a less elegant solution but still a solution. The remaining 99% is incinerated because it is not possible to separate the different materials for recycling. In the USA, the problem is enormous due to the large overproduction of tennis balls.
Hence, the concept of DOTS.RECYCLING is to collect as many used and discarded tennis balls from as many tennis clubs as possible. The balls are collected in collaboration with Schenker, DOTS.RECYCLING's logistics partner, and they are only picked up when each club has gathered 5,000 balls.
In addition to minimising their time on the road, Casper and Mikkel have chosen to donate 10% of their shipping costs to an initiative supported by their logistics partner, Schenker. This initiative involves Schenker investing in the development of green solutions in the transport sector. Therefore, the sustainable philosophy of DOTS.RECYCLING extends beyond just the idea of reusing material from old tennis balls; it also encompasses the individual processes and the environmental focus of Mikkel and Casper in the project.
The Significance of Sustainability in the Creation of DOTS.RECYCLING
"There is no doubt that we are both very excited about the significant difference DOTS.RECYCLING can make for consumers while leaving a positive impact on the environment"
Mikkel Blaabjerg Haaning, CEO, DOTS.RECYCLING
DOTS.RECYCLING came to light based on Mikkel's curiosity about what his tennis club does with all the used tennis balls when they can no longer be used for playing tennis.
What do the tennis clubs do with this "waste"? And can the material not serve a new purpose? Already, it is evident that there is a sustainable and environmentally friendly mindset behind it. Businessmen and entrepreneurs may have crossed Mikkel and Casper's minds, but the idea of recycling and its potential environmental impact certainly played a role. This demonstrates how the idea, business, and sustainability align well.
Casper and Mikkel are two innovative individuals with a friendship where they always called each other if they had a business idea – whether sustainability was the focal point or not didn't matter much. According to Casper, they did not specifically aim to find a project related to sustainability with this project.
As usual, they pursued a good idea, and the fact that this idea has a sustainable focus adds extra motivation for Casper and Mikkel, as it adds extra value to the product, the entire project, and their brand, says Casper. The sustainable element has also been crucial for Flemming Bunde and BILA, and he adds: It's great to support young entrepreneurs. BILA's main purpose is to help Danish industry, and something like this could be an adventure. An adventure where a good product is created in Denmark, with a focus on sustainability and circular products, which is what we all talk about in the market. Therefore, it was a perfect match to support the project.
Casper explains that being part of this sustainability wave is undoubtedly satisfying. At the same time, Casper and Mikkel believe that they offer a product that is better than what is currently on the market, giving them tremendous confidence in the project. It's the combination of a strong product and the immense value that the sustainability element adds, both to their satisfaction and in the service of society, that gives them a lot. Now they can tell how many balls are overproduced – and, more importantly, that DOTS.RECYCLING can address that problem now.
A Project with Great Ambitions
Casper and Mikkel have significant ambitions. They state that within a year and a half, they plan to collect balls from a minimum of 150 clubs in the 10-15 largest countries in Europe. They see good opportunities for this since DOTS.RECYCLING actually helps individual clubs dispose of their "waste" in a very good way. They have no doubt about where the project should lead.
"The goal is clear: we need to eliminate all the other felt on the market," says Casper.
Casper and Mikkel believe they can contribute to this by developing a product that is so good that consumers only buy what they need, which is also reflected in the quantity of dots in each bag. Thus, the product helps reduce waste and overconsumption of felt.
"We touch on something exciting, we think, especially in terms of sustainability. Clearly," says Casper.
Published March 2022.
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