Surprising environmental benefits of synthetic turf

"But it's just not natural!" – Surprising environmental benefits of synthetic turf

Story by: Trends
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There are surprising environmental benefits to synthetic turf

How do synthetic football pitches compare with natural turfs? At first glance, in the environmental debate, artificial grass seems to be a non-starter. A natural turf is living and breathing. What’s not to love about a natural grass pitch? We do love them too, but there are a few more points to consider before you make your mind up.

1. Recycled material can be used in the production of artificial grass turfs and components

Millions of plastic bottles are diverted from landfills every year to be recycled as part of the modern process of manufacturing synthetic grass for sports turfs. Furthermore, our TigerTurf research team is aiming to produce 100% recyclable turf products in the future.

2. TenCate Ecocept

TenCate Ecocept is used by Tiger Turf as a component of our sub-base structure. Manufactured with 80% to 90% waste products and rubber, this product works positively for the environment.

A porous, free-draining pavement that stabilises the sub-structure, it can avoid the need to install extensive trench-drainage, along with the need to truck earth and drainage materials on and off site. With effective lateral drainage that reduces water loss, the volume of water required for irrigation is immediately reduced (especially with Hockey turfs).

Add to that TenCate Ecocept’s ability to absorb impact to FIFA/IRB/FIH standards, and you have a product that has everyone smiling, including the treasurer.


3. TenCate Accorder

TigerTurf also uses TenCate Accorder in stabilising the sub-base system of our sports surfaces. In most cases, this geotextile product makes deep excavation and trucking aggregate unnecessary. TenCate Accorder scores again environmentally as a 100% recyclable material, lightweight to transport and handle, saving you the cost of extra materials.

4. Synthetic turf products don’t need pesticides or fertilisers

Synthetic sports fields don’t need the many different pesticides that are necessary in the battle to keep natural grass fields free of insect predators. Removing the risks that can be associated with the use of pesticides as well as the costs of applying the chemicals is a positive environmental story.

An artificial grass pitch that is heavily used needs minimal weed treatment; and regular maintenance of the turf will ensure the surface is at its optimum for performance and playability.

Fertilisers inevitably have to be applied to natural grass football fields too, as part of their maintenance programme. Apart from the ongoing cost of these, run-off from fertilisers, as well as pesticides, is a major cause of water pollution in our lakes, rivers, streams and estuaries. Just saying…

5. Synthetic football fields require much less water than grass pitches do

There are other sound environmental reasons to consider when weighing the merits of natural football turf against those of 3G artificial grass football turf. Installing an artificial grass football pitch conserves water, a vital, but diminishing, resource; there is real pressure on us all to find ways of reducing the overuse of water. Hundreds of thousands of litres of water can be saved every year, depending on the local climate. In countries with dry climates, these savings escalate to millions of litres of water. There is little argument against synthetic turfs for football clubs in Middle Eastern countries and others with desert climates, who wouldn’t be able to have football pitches at all if not for artificial grass turfs!

You can reduce your water costs enormously by installing an artificial grass football pitch; costs which will inevitably increase as our climate changes. In fact, during the height of summer, water restrictions mean that water is just not available for irrigation.

6. Carbon emissions: do your bit for the environment

By installing a synthetic football pitch you immediately reduce the carbon emissions produced by your sports facility. The regular mowing required by natural grass pitches causes the emission of carbon monoxide, while the piles of lawn clippings produced by all this lawn mowing also emit environmentally harmful methane gas during their breakdown process. Over the lifetime of a football pitch, these emissions have an increasingly negative effect on the environment. This ceases to be a problem for clubs installing synthetic football pitches.

In conclusion: synthetic grass football pitches v natural grass football pitches

There are clear benefits in using artificial grass pitches more widely in amateur and professional football, especially where climate and cost have an effect on the type of facilities a club needs to use. Synthetic grass facilities will continue to become more popular for busy football clubs, but are not likely to replace natural grass pitches in the higher professional football leagues just yet.

Jan 19, 2018





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