Is padel a sustainable industry?

During the round table titled “Is padel a Sustainable Industry?” at the first PADEL WORLD SUMMIT in Málaga, hosted by Marina Ginestà from Blackfabric, MªEugenia Rodriguez from Eurecat, and Emilio Risques from The Mothertrees, a critical look was taken at the future of this sport in terms of sustainability.

Blackfabric highlighted thermoplastic composites as a more environmentally friendly option with great potential in sports and leisure, offering benefits for the local economy.

Eco-Design: Materials and Manufacturing Beyond Use

One of the central topics was eco-design, which means designing products with their entire life cycle in mind. Blackfabric advocates for the use of recyclable and repairable materials to extend the life of padel rackets. This approach not only reduces environmental impact but also allows manufacturers to offer higher quality and more durable products.

One of the solutions proposed by Blackfabric is the use of thermoplastic composites. Here are their main characteristics and advantages:

Pre-impregnated carbon or glass fiber fabrics with a thermoplastic matrix

Currently, the manufacturing process of padel rackets is very artisanal, slow, and imprecise (manual lamination of thermosetting resins), which also produces non-repairable rackets. The use of thermoplastic prepregs, which unlike thermosetting ones, can be remolded, repaired, and recycled, makes them much more sustainable. Additionally, they allow for more automated and efficient production, reducing costs and facilitating local manufacturing and process reproducibility.

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Example of a padel racket just consolidated with a quick thermoforming process.

Local Production and Sustainability

The consolidation process of fabrics with thermoplastics involves rapid thermoforming with a press. Thus, manufacturing can be faster and less expensive, allowing brands to produce locally. These are the key advantages for your company:

  • Emission Reduction: Manufacturing locally significantly reduces CO2 emissions associated with transportation.
  • Quality Control: Manufacturers have greater control over production processes and the quality of the final product.
  • Innovation: It allows greater flexibility to innovate and customize products according to local market needs.
  • Local Job Creation: Producing close to home generates jobs that boost the local economy.
  • High Production Cadence: Significant increase in production speed thanks to a process that does not require long curing times. Additionally, a high technical level of staff is not required because the process is practically automated.

Blackfabric, with its production in Spain, has already adopted these practices, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and innovation in the padel sector.

The Importance of Regulations

One of the relevant points of the round table was future regulations in the field of sustainability. Marina Ginestà, product director at Blackfabric, emphasized the need for regulations and legislations that drive sustainability in all industries. These regulations are crucial to compel companies to adopt more sustainable practices and ensure a greener future.

Using the sport of padel as an example, Blackfabric advocates for changes in materials and manufacturing processes in the racket sector. They insist on continuing the sustainability line in playing fields, clubs, sportswear, and ball manufacturing to drive necessary change from within the padel industry and sports in general.

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More sustainable rackets, balls, and playing fields.

Benefits for Manufacturers

Adopting these sustainable practices not only benefits the environment but also offers competitive advantages for manufacturers:

  • Differentiation: Allows brands to stand out in an increasingly environmentally conscious market.
  • Customer Loyalty: Consumers increasingly value sustainability, which can translate into greater loyalty and preference for responsible brands.

In conclusion, Blackfabric’s participation in the PADEL WORLD SUMMIT 2024 reaffirms its commitment to sustainability and innovation. Thermoplastic composites emerge as the most environmentally friendly alternative in the sports sector with significant benefits for companies, players, and our planet.

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During the round table at the first Padel World Summit in Málaga.

On Blackfabric’s website, you can find a wide selection of thermoplastic composites and can contact them if you need more information or specific products for your projects.

Blackfabric develops and produces customized fabrics for technical applications

Feel free to contact us, we’ll be very happy to help you to find a solution.
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