In 1976, an artificial turf hockey field was installed for the first time in the Netherlands near Kampong in Utrecht. Since then a lot of artificial turf fields have been added. Currently there are already about 1,800 artificial turf football pitches and about 1,000 artificial turf hockey pitches in the Netherlands.
REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE DISTRIBUTION OF MICROPLASTICS
Field owners must take measures to comply with the duty of care document on the environment of artificial turf pitches. The Public Prosecutor’s Office keeps a close eye on whether managers take measures that can reasonably be taken to prevent contamination and limit the consequences of any contamination. If not, sanctions will follow…
PROCESSING OF ARTIFICIAL TURF
In mid-2018 a broadcast by Zembla started a discussion about the processing and replacement of the artificial turf pitches. Questions soon arose about the consequences for health and the environment. It turned out that insufficient thought had been given to the processing of discarded artificial grass mats. Synthetic turf rolls turned out to have been stacked up by dozens at a time without a concrete plan for processing them. Other mats disappeared into a grey circuit.
AN IDEAL OPPORTUNITY…
In the meantime, various initiatives have been started that contribute to the processing of artificial turf pitches. In our opinion, an ideal opportunity to solve one problem (infill preservation and distribution of microplastics) with the other (growing artificial turf waste heap). The Netherlands has over 1,800 artificial turf football pitches. In the field of recycling, nice steps are already being taken but if no raw material flow from recycled artificial turf is initiated after recycling of artificial turf, we still have waste. When choosing preventive measures, this is an ideal opportunity to contribute to reducing the artificial turf waste mountain by applying circular products from recycled artificial turf!
PREVENTIVE MEASURES INFILL PRESERVATION AND PREVENTION OF THE SPREAD OF MICROPLASTICS
- the installation of a raised edge capping or even a boarding along a field or along the path around the field;
- the installation of a sludge trap in the sewage system and the responsible disposal of the sludge;
- adapting management with the collection of leaves and waste within the artificial turf and responsible disposal;
- cleaning the (maintenance) machines used on the field (before leaving the field);
- when blowing leaves, ensuring that leaves remain on the pitch. Dispose of leaf material as waste;
- do not compost waste from gullies around a field, but dispose of it in a controlled manner. Sweeping waste and swirling sludge should be disposed of as residual waste and not as VGF waste;
- provide better cleaning facilities at the entrance and exit of the artificial turf fields, with brushes being placed inside the fences;
drawing up unambiguous maintenance and use guidelines, with a practical explanation of the need to prevent the spread of microplastics. The maintenance booklet of the KNVB from 2014 can be adapted for this purpose. By means of information and courses the contents can be brought to the attention of the managers.
CIRCULAR SOLUTIONS AS PREVENTIVE MEASURES
With the GreenMatter initiative we have been working on the problem of the growing artificial grass waste mountain for quite some time now. By using products from recycled artificial grass, the reuse of artificial grass fibres from old artificial grass pitches is possible in a responsible and circular way! GreenMatter offers clients and contractors of artificial turf projects the opportunity to contribute to the circular flow of raw materials from old artificial turf fields by applying GreenMatter products, including: picnic sets, park benches, flower boxes, brush mats, locking straps, shoring and edge boards. In order to give substance to the preventive measures we offer our clients the opportunity to opt for circular edge closures and brush mats so that they contribute to reducing the artificial turf waste mountain.
For more information about our circular measures for infill preservation and against the spread of micorplastisc, download our digi-folder here.