The Growing Waste Problem of Synthetic Turf Fields

What happens to a synthetic turf athletic field when it’s time for replacement? You can find them sitting on vacant plots of land across the country, according to an investigation by the York Daily Record and York Sunday News publications.

“Used artificial turf is expected to produce 1 million to 4 million tons of waste in the next 10 years, and it has nowhere to go, according to solid waste industry analysts,” the journalists report.

The article discusses the difficulties of recycling or disposing of synthetic turf. The only recycling facility in the world that can fully separate the parts is in Denmark, and bringing turf to landfills is an expensive and heavy lift (literally). Due to a lack of regulation and government oversight, old turf ends up in empty lots, backyards, public spaces and private land. The crumb rubber and chemicals in turf also present potential safety and health concerns for the surrounding environment.

Kyla Bennett, science and policy director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, says the best solution is to use natural grass.

This problem highlights a consequence of using a synthetic, disposable groundcover for our athletic fields. Unlike synthetic turf, natural grass is a sustainable plant with an endless lifespan.

For more information, click Read More for the full article from the York Daily Record

About the Author

Casey Reynolds, PhD
Dr. Casey Reynolds is the Executive Director at Turfgrass Producers International

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