I strongly believe that some of the most famous and popular tennis players in the world are able to influence their fans’ spending behavior by using and advocating certain sustainable tennis sporting goods.
For example, Sascha Zverev, who was just crowned 2020 Tokyo Olympics Men’s Single champion, once said that “everyone, tennis players included, should be taking greater care of the planet.” To help tennis players of all levels enjoy the sport in a more sustainable fashion, Zverev has collaborated with HEAD on the development of the brand's first tennis bags made from recycled PET bottles. The HEAD GRAVITY R-PET (R for recycled, PET for Polyethylene terephthalate, the material that makes up plastic bottles) collection, which has launched this year, is an illustration of how HEAD recognizes its responsibility to be more sustainable and to protect the planet for future generations.
Overall, I rate HEAD Gravity R-PET bag 1.17 planets because of its innovative way of using recycled PEET bottles into manufacturing and also because of the fact that this is the only eco-conscious tennis bag I have seen in the market at the moment. However, HEAD can improve the rating by putting more effort on its marketing and grabbing more market share.
We all know that plastic bottles are recyclable, but we still need to make sure that we are using the recycled bottles.
HEAD found a way to use those recycled bottles and turning them into a tennis bag. HEAD Gravity R-Pet Bag is made from 47 recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.
Another environmental-friendly approach taken by HEAD is that the label of the bag is made of recycled paper and it is attached to the bag using a cotton cord, which is more sustainable than the usual plastic that’s been used.
What’s more, the colors of the bag refer to the ocean, as a way to remind that all the bottles that are used to make these bags will not end up in the sea.
For the players who use the bag, they may find the bag flexible in that the adjustable dividers allow them to customize the size of each smaller compartments.
However, I think we need to know more about other materials used in the manufacturing process, which I will explain a bit more in the next section. I will rate this section 1.5 planets.
As the name R-Pet Bag suggests – R stands for recycled, and PET for Polyethylene terephthalate, which the material that makes up plastic bottles – 47 PET bottles have been turned into fine threads of plastic to make the bag.
Even though the bag is made from recycled bottles, I am concerned by its colorful exterior. As I mentioned in my previous review on Wilson ‘Naked Series’ (links attached in the reference), the solvent-based paints or dyes may increase the number of carbon compounds released in the air, polluting the air, water and eco-system. I am not sure whether the dyes are the same on the racquet and the bag, but it is likely that both dyes may have a negative impact on the environment.
Therefore, I need more information on materials used in other parts of the bag to provide a more reliable rating. I will rate this section 1 planet considering the idea of using recycled PET bottles.
In my previous review on HEAD WTB One Ball (link is attached in the reference), I have explained why I think HEAD is not as sustainable as Wilson or YONEX in tennis goods manufacturing. There are two main reasons.
First, a basic google search may give you a rough idea. If you go to www.google.com and search “HEAD sustainability” and “Wilson sustainability”, you will get 71,900,000 results for Wilson while only 12,300,000 results for HEAD. More importantly, the only result that I found that is relevant for HEAD sustainability is about WTB One Ball. However, as I mentioned in the previous section, that article is rather generic and lack of solid data/proof. On the contrary, Wilson and YONEX have more relevant results and their sustainability arguments are backed up by data and testimonies.
Second, the extent of market exposure or market share of Wilson sustainable goods and that of HEAD is unparalleled. Let’s compare between Wilson Triniti and HEAD WTB One: Wilson introduced Triniti in 2019 and there are far more purchases based on the amount of comments in Tennis-Point (25 comments for Wilson v.s 3 comments for HEAD) and in Amazon UK (572 comments for Wilson v.s 0 comment for HEAD because WTB One is not even on Amazon). I guess the main driver of the difference in market share is the amount of effort that has put in marketing. Take the marketing for Triniti as an example: I clearly see a well-designed website with four well-edited videos about why the balls are sustainable. By contrast, there are only few sentences in HEAD website about why the Gravity R-Pet Bag is sustainable.
However, I may come up with a false ‘accusation’ against HEAD if HEAD’s products are in fact more eco-friendly, and probably they just did not invest enough in marketing. Nevertheless, it sounds rather impossible and irrational for a huge company not trying hard to market its sustainable product which takes in which much time and money are invested. HEAD has a lot to catch up with its competitors Wilson and YONEX in terms of sustainability practice. However, I believe that HEAD is on its way.
Therefore, for the rating of this section, I am benchmarking HEAD against the rating my previous rating for Wilson (2.5 planets) and YONEX (1.5). I will give HEAD 1.0 planet accordingly.