Can artificial grass be recycled

Plastic problem artificial turf: State sports association and the Ministry of the Environment address ecological disposal

Environment Minister Franz Untersteller: "1000 artificial turf pitches in Baden-Württemberg alone - recovery and recycling is environmental protection"

What happens to old and disused synthetic turf pitches? At the end of their useful life, how can they be disposed of as ecologically as possible, i.e. recovered and recycled? Are there more ecological alternatives to the common artificial turf pitches, their use and disposal?

Almost 300 participants at the first symposium “Ecological disposal and recycling of synthetic turf pitches” dealt with these questions today. The Ministry of the Environment and the State Sports Association of Baden-Württemberg invited to the online event.

“There are around 1,000 artificial turf sports fields in Baden-Württemberg alone. The older ones are almost all filled with plastic granulate. This is nothing more than environmentally-resistant plastic, "said Environment Minister Franz Untersteller, describing the situation." Part of it is washed out over the years by gaming, maintenance or the weather and ends up as microplastic in the ground and in the water . The rest is burned at the end of its useful life. It's not ecological. "

Untersteller sees the manufacturer of artificial turf sports fields as having a special responsibility. "We need products on the market whose components are more environmentally friendly and can be easily separated and recycled," said the minister.

Technically, a lot has already happened in the past few years. There are already special recycling systems for synthetic turf pitches that can recycle almost all components of a synthetic turf system to a high quality. Often recycling is not implemented for economic reasons, complained subordinates.

Against this background, it is exemplary that some innovative and ecologically committed sports clubs in Baden-Württemberg have already become active in order to reduce the discharge of microplastics, continues Untersteller. For example, through filter channels around the area to catch the abrasion or through the use of ecological filling material such as cork or olive pits. "We have to motivate other clubs and active people to follow the good examples," said the environment minister. "We need to raise awareness of sustainable sport and the ecological use of artificial turf pitches."

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Brochure "Microplastics in Sport - What Sports Clubs and Active People Can Do"

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