Billy Jean King's Eco-Friendly Game Plan

Billy Jean King's Eco-Friendly Game Plan
When it comes to tennis, Billy Jean King is a legend. With over 70 titles and being inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, her accomplishments on the court are truly impressive. But did you know that she is also a leader in eco-friendly initiatives in sports? From winning the 2019 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leader Award to launching the USTA’s green plan, Billy Jean King is making a difference in sustainability. In this blog post, we will explore King's journey as an eco-friendly athlete and her contributions to making tennis more sustainable.

King's environmental efforts extend beyond the tennis court. In 2007, she co-founded GreenSlam, an organization dedicated to raising awareness among athletes and sports leaders for climate action. Through GreenSlam, King has been at the forefront of many sustainability initiatives in the sports industry. One of the most notable ones is the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s (Wimbledon) green program. King worked alongside the club's members to implement sustainable practices, tripling their recycling rate and eliminating over 500,000 plastic bags yearly.

Another impressive accomplishment of King is her work with the United States Tennis Association (USTA). In 2018, King, along with environmental scientist Allen Hershkowitz, launched "Our Courts, Our Earth," a sustainability initiative to create a more sustainable future for tennis by reducing the sport's environmental impact. Under this initiative, the USTA launched a green plan that reduced the US Open's greenhouse gas emissions by over 100,000 metric tonnes, achieved a 97% waste diversion rate and sent 700 tons of food waste to composting centers.

King and her team also introduced eco-friendly initiatives for athletes, such as getting rid of plastic straws and foam cups at events. The USTA switched to paper straws, compostable cups, and reusable water bottles, reducing plastic waste significantly. These small changes made a big difference and helped reduce the carbon footprint of the sport.

Eco-friendly initiatives are close to King's heart. She believes that athletes have a crucial role to play in raising awareness and taking action on the environment. In an interview, she stated, “Athletes are communicators, role models, and influencers of what we do in life…the fact that we make an impact, we have to be conscious of it and try to minimize it.”

It is admirable to see King's contribution to improving sustainability in sports. Her initiatives have not only inspired the tennis community but also the broader sports industry. Her passion and commitment to environmentalism have made tennis more sustainable and will continue to encourage others to take steps towards climate action. King's achievements show that small changes can make a big difference in the fight against climate change. It's essential to take inspiration from legends like King and do our part to create a more sustainable future.