The International Football Association (FIFA) has recently elaborated guidelines on recycling artificial turf, which describe the environmental impact of the components of artificial turf and outline the benefits of different recycling alternatives. Although artificial turf differs by manufacturer and model, it normally consists of the same components. Environmental impact is influenced by three main factors:
- Choice of infill materials – synthetic infills have a larger environmental impact than recycled rubber crumbs or the use of organic materials.
- Use of a shock pad – the installation of a shock pad reduces the need for synthetic infill by 50–60%, which in turn means a smaller environmental impact. Also, there is no need to renew the shock pad when new turf is installed.
- The chosen type of treatment – what will be done with old artificial turf after it has been removed from the pitch?
According to FIFA, there are four possible alternatives for using old artificial turf, starting from reusing it on football pitches and recycling of materials, to using it as waste fuel or disposing of it in landfills. When describing the impact of these alternatives on the environment, the order remains the same: the most sustainable alternative is to re-use the artificial turf on football pitches, which according to FIFA is not very widespread.
The advantage of the technology elaborated in our company is that we recover 100% of the infill from the football pitch. Infills of the artificial turf to be removed are separated, cleaned, and dried and will be re-used on the same pitch. We can reinstall most of the removed turf covering on training pitches or football grounds of schools, for example. Our solution is less costly and is also significantly more sustainable compared to other operators.
Read more about the FIFA guidelines on FIFA’s homepage.