A Tennis String that is Fully Biodegradable: The Science Behind Velociti Catalyst
Why is Velociti Catalyst tennis string revolutionary?
Every year, thousands of tons of used tennis string are dumped in landfills, where it takes centuries for a single string to decompose. This is a huge problem that has plagued the tennis industry and our environment for decades.
Up until now, tennis players wanting a more environmentally friendly string have had just one choice: expensive natural gut tennis string that costs 2-3x as much and is less durable than cheaper alternatives.
A sustainable solution for tennis strings
In 2022, Velociti Tennis became the first company to present a sustainable solution for tennis string: Velociti Catalyst biodegradable tennis string.
Velociti Catalyst is a 16-gauge polyester string made with an organic additive that allows it to rapidly decompose once it’s placed in a landfill. It retails for $14.59, just 1/3 of the cost of an average set of natural gut tennis string.
While other companies have previously attempted to create sustainable tennis string by using recycled materials or including partially biodegradable components, Velociti Catalyst is the first 100% biodegradable synthetic tennis string. To date, there has been no other synthetic tennis string that solves the problem of used tennis string waste as effectively as Velociti Catalyst.
How long does it take Velociti Catalyst tennis string to biodegrade?
Velociti Catalyst is made with an organic additive that allows it to decompose 100x faster than other synthetic tennis string.
Whereas most synthetic gut tennis strings take an average of 400-600 years to decompose, Velociti Catalyst fully decomposes in just three to five years.
This is truly a game changer for the tennis industry and for tennis players who care about protecting the environment.
How do we know Velociti Catalyst will biodegrade in 3-5 years?
In 2022, Velociti Tennis commissioned an independent laboratory (Northeast Laboratories, Inc.) to conduct anaerobic biodegradation analysis and testing on Velociti Catalyst tennis string. ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) Report D5511 describes the tests performed and details the results of the study.
About the Catalyst study
- Northeast Laboratories, Inc. tested samples of Velociti Catalyst in an environment designed to simulate landfill.
- Three Catalyst biodegradable string samples were compared to three negative and three positive control samples. The positive control samples contained thin layer grade cellulose. The negative control samples contained untreated Catalyst string (without the biodegradable additive).
- All nine test samples were incubated for 30 days – primarily in the dark and, at times, in diffused light. Temperature and atmospheric pressures were monitored, and daily gas volumes, carbon dioxide and methane concentrations were assessed.
The Catalyst study results
During the 30-day testing period:
- The 20-gram sample of Velociti Catalyst biodegradable string produced 1.63 grams of methane gas and 1.42 grams of carbon dioxide. Subtracting the inoculum from the sample yields a value of 1.74 grams of gaseous carbon recovered.
- The negative control sample (Velociti Catalyst string without the biodegradable additive) produced 0 grams of gaseous carbon, and the positive control sample (cellulose) produced 6.36 grams of gaseous carbon.
- Comparing the amount of gaseous carbon recovered with the theoretical weight in grams of the sample, the Velociti Catalyst string with biodegradable additive achieved 10.16% biodegradation.
- In comparison, the negative sample containing untreated Catalyst string (without the biodegradable additive) achieved 0.00% biodegradation. The positive sample containing cellulose achieved 72.27% biodegradation.
The study takeaway
Extrapolating the results of the 30-day study:
- We can assume that under these conditions (specifically designed to simulate landfill), Velociti Catalyst biodegradable synthetic tennis string will fully decompose in less than one year.
- Knowing that not all landfill environments are the same, Velociti is confident that Catalyst biodegradable string placed in a variety of landfill conditions will fully decompose within three to five years.
How does Velociti Catalyst tennis string biodegrade so quickly?
Velociti Catalyst tennis string features a 100% organic, non-toxic additive that is incorporated into the string during the manufacturing process. This additive contains no heavy metals or other harmful ingredients.
- Once Velociti Catalyst tennis string is placed in landfill, specific microbes found in that environment begin to break down the string.
- Activated by natural microbes, the additive breaks down the polyester string at a molecular level.
- The open polymer chain allows water and microbes to enter, breaking the polyester down to element level.
- The result is humus (end-product of decomposed organic matter) and biogas (carbon dioxide and methane gases), similar to those naturally occurring in our environment.
Is the additive in Velociti Catalyst tennis string safe for the environment?
The 100% organic additive used in Velociti Catalyst tennis string is safe for humans and the environment.
It is food contact safe per the US Food and Drug Administration and compliant with California Proposition 65 (CA Safe Drinking Water Act). The additive is free from BPA, phthalates, toxic materials (lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury) and contains no heavy metals.
How does Velociti Catalyst tennis string benefit the environment?
Within just a few years, Velociti Catalyst tennis string fully breaks down to become humus and biogas. Humus benefits the environment by making soil richer, and biogas promotes renewable energy.
This process is more environmentally friendly than other tennis string decomposition because it leaves no microplastics or nano-plastics at end of life. Tennis string made with recycled ingredients merely postpones the 400-600 year decomposition phase by one cycle.
How does Velociti Catalyst compare to other “green” tennis string?
While other tennis manufacturers are making headway in addressing environmental waste, none has gone so far as Velociti to produce a synthetic tennis string that is fully biodegradable.
- ISOSPEED Second Service tennis string is made from 100% recycled PET bottles. It is not biodegradable, so this only delays the string from ending up in landfill by one cycle.
- ReString Zero features biodegradable packaging, but the tennis string itself is not biodegradable.
Velociti Catalyst is the best polyester tennis string on the market for environmentally conscious tennis players.
Is Velociti Catalyst the first 100% biodegradable synthetic tennis string?
Japanese manufacturer Gosen developed a tennis string called BioGut in 1999. This string was made with a high polymer blend of “biodegraded” multifilament and special resin. To our knowledge, this string was not fully biodegradable but rather featured select biodegradable materials.
Will Velociti Catalyst tennis string start to decompose on my racquet?
Velociti Catalyst tennis string will not start to decompose until placed in landfill. Specific organisms found in landfill are required to activate the decomposition process. Tennis players do not need to worry about Velociti Catalyst string decomposing on their racquet.
Does the biodegradable additive effect the string’s playability?
Players will not notice any negative impacts to the tennis string’s performance on their racquet. In fact, independent play test results show the additive actually increased the string’s durability during play. Read Racquet Sports Industry Magazine’s review of Velociti Catalyst, which validates claims of increased durability.
Visit our online store to order Velociti Catalyst today.