When you lose a regular golf ball, how long does it persist in the environment?

June 18, 2021 10:52 am Published by

How long does it take a regular golf ball to break down?

Trash in WaterThe range of time estimates for how long it takes a standard golf ball to break down once it is lost starts at about 100 years and goes up to 1000! Why such a huge range? Well, two important factors to consider when talking about how long it takes for a golf ball to break down are composition and environment. Composition we are talking about what the ball is made of and environment is where the ball ends up.

The Composition:
The composition can vary depending on the type of ball and who made it. Simple cheap one-piece balls are typically made of rubber and plastics. Moving up the chain to the fancy one-piece ball all sorts of novel materials are introduced into the manufacturing process to give the balls specific properties. Unfortunately, many of these materials are harmful to the environment. Some of the ingredients of a high-end modern golf ball are: thermoplastics, zinc oxide, zinc acrylate, benzoyl peroxidem heavy metals,  polybutadiene, and other propriety blends of materials not disclosed by the manufacturer.

Where it lands:
Where the ball ends up is the other part of the equation. Balls end up everywhere and naturally, the conditions where they are has a huge impact on how long it breaks down. When I say they end up everywhere I mean it! Balls are lost at sea, in forested areas, in parks and backyards, there are even some balls left on the moon!
Balls left behind slowly break down and as they do they release their contents into the environment. Thousands of balls are lost every day across the world. They are leaching out toxic chemicals as well as breaking down into microplastics.

The Solution:
If this bothers you, one solution is to account for every ball you ever hit and never lose a single one. This of course isn’t feasible or practical so the better solution is to invest in some biodegradable golf balls! These are eco golf balls that dissolve in water. Eco-friendly golf balls are made from materials that dissolve once exposed to water. These water soluble golf balls are made from simple corn starch and a PVA coating mean nothing plastic, toxic or harmful is released when they degrade. Pretty cool!

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This post was written by dyllan