12th Jun 2020
This week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s risk assessment committee backed restriction proposals for an EU ban on the deliberate addition of microplastic particles to products. As part of this, the committee agreed on the need for a total ban on the use of microplastics in artificial grass playing fields.
The European Commission asked the European Chemicals Agency to prepare a restrictions proposal targeted at reducing pollution from microplastics and oxo-plastics in products for professional and consumer use – including artificial turf.
Ultimately, it might be that no changes come into force. Yet, as we move towards a more environmentally aware future, we believe it’s best to prepare for the very real possibility that there will either be a complete ban or enforced containment measures, on microplastics in artificial turf.
As we discussed in our article last year, we’re proud to already offer many of the measures required for clients to adapt should this ban, or mitigation methods, come into place.
Whether these measures are adopted by the EU, or you simply want to ensure your facilities are as environmentally sound as possible, our dedicated teams will provide guidance and advice on the latest best practice and options available.
Currently, these options include:
If a ban is introduced, then the focus for existing artificial turf pitches will be safely removing any existing plastic infill with a suitable organic performance infill of the same quality. This process uses specialised equipment to ensure no damage to the artificial turf fibres.
We work exclusively with leading artificial turf manufacturers FieldTurf, who already offer organic performance infill in the form of PureFill and PureSelect, fully certified to governing body criteria such as FIFA and World Rugby Regulation 22.
In the case of new 3G pitches, which use a combination of sand and performance infill material, this will involve selecting an organic infill material (as above) to be used in place of SBR or similar plastic products.
It’s worth noting that by the time any such measures come into place, non-fill artificial turf technology currently in development – often referred to as ‘4G’ – may be certified for use, removing the need for performance infill altogether.
Even with a complete ban on microplastics, environmental charity FIDRA have suggested that containment measures should still be introduced to protect the environment from infill migration.
Containment measures that can be fitted retrospectively include:
For new pitches, the above elements can be built into the pitch design, as well as additional options such as building elevated edges or a solid surface around the perimeter of the pitch.
When artificial turf has come to the end of its useful life, we can advise on economically and environmentally sound options for recycling of turf and infill into new materials.
Having already completed the removal and recycling of several field installations in the US, FieldTurf is at the forefront of developing technology to expand end-of-life turf applications. Their Driving The Field To Zero initiative is a commitment a future where none of their artificial turf products make it to landfill.
S&C Slatter are committed to ensuring that our business operates in the most environmentally sound way possible.
Our in-house Health, Safety and Environmental Quality Manager is working to ensure business-wide compliance in line with the latest guidance. This includes working towards an ISO 14001 accreditation, the acquisition of specialist plant and machinery operating with biofuels and the implementation of new policies and procedures.
We’ll keep a close eye on the developments in the proposed ECHA restriction and ensure that if and when restrictions come into place, we’ll be ready to help clients ensure their artificial pitches are compliant with regulations.
If you would like to discuss the latest recommendations from the risk assessment committee, or would like to discuss alternative infill methods, pitch recycling or similar, please get in touch with us on 01635 345 21 or email email@example.com