What do people do with discarded artificial grass?

Artificial grass is now popular all over the world. However, one thing few people pay attention to is how to handle damaged and worn-out lawns so as not to harm the environment?

Meanwhile, one of the components of artificial grass is tiny pieces of rubber that can last for hundreds of years, which can limit the growth of plants, reduce the fertility of the soil.. .

What do people do with discarded artificial grass?
Artificial grass in a stadium in the US – (Image: GETTY IMAGES).

About 30 years ago, the United States had a headache with how to recycle used car tires with millions of them in the wild, including in remote places like canyons, abysses, jungles.

At this time, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to study the direction of recycling used car tires.

A new and potential direction is to grind the tires to make artificial grass, thereby creating a revolution for sports activities around the world.

With advantages such as no pesticides, fertilizers or daily pruning; For a long time (average 8-10 years), today artificial grass is widely used in many places, including Vietnam, not only for sports activities but also for decoration or “home” “for pets.

What do people do with discarded artificial grass?
Used artificial grass in Franklin, Massachusetts – (Photo: BOSTONGLOBE).

According to the American Artificial Grass Association, the number of artificial turf sports fields in the country is currently about 12,000-13,000, with an increase of 1,200-1,500 new courts each year. And every year there are 750 yards that need to be replaced with artificial turf, costing about 330 million pounds.

With such a large number, the recycling of artificial grass is a difficult problem. According to The Atlantic , all 7 largest artificial grass manufacturers in the US, when asked by the research team about how to handle damaged grass, refused to answer.

What do people do with discarded artificial grass?
Discarded artificial grass can be harmful to the ecosystem – (Image: DENNIS ANDERSEN).

Currently, there is only one way to treat artificial grass, which is… throw it away.

In July 2018, people in Montgomery County (Albama State, USA) discovered a local garbage truck removing old artificial grass at a park more than 70km away.

A year later, the park was filled with old artificial grass and tiny pieces of rubber strewn across the trees.

In the town of Franklin, Massachusetts, an artificial grass waste collection site located near a marsh, which also serves as the town’s water source, poses health concerns in the area.

Meanwhile, California currently accounts for about 10% of artificial turf in the US. Although one of the local pioneers in recycling campaigns, California also has a headache with what to do with discarded artificial grass.

What do people do with discarded artificial grass?
Small pieces of rubber are very difficult to decompose in artificial grass – (Photo: BONSTONGLOBE).

According to research by the FairWarning organization, this type of waste has the ability to exist for hundreds of years. When spilled on the ground, the tiny pieces of rubber in the artificial grass can limit the growth of plants, reducing the fertility of the soil.

Currently, one of the ways to treat artificial grass is to separate its components (plastic, sand, gravel, etc.) and recycle each type. However, this sorting process is expensive and it is not yet known what these crushed rubber pieces will be used for.

What do people do with discarded artificial grass?
Artificial grass waste in Maryland, USA – (Photo: AMANDA FARBER).

Dennis Andersen, director of Re-Match recycling company in Denmark, says the team is building a special plant that can recycle artificial turf into a useful material. According to Andersen, this direction can recycle up to 99% of this waste, but cannot be disclosed for business reasons.

Meanwhile, Mary Lehman – a member of the Maryland State Legislative Assembly – said that she is campaigning to include artificial grass management in the state’s environmental law provisions, which emphasize the task of dealing with waste. this after no longer in use.

Mary Lehman said it is possible to delegate this responsibility to the manufacturers. “There can’t be no one responsible for this,” Mary Lehman said.