Environmental Impacts of Artificial Turf

30th October 2018

FIFA, the international football association, were under pressure from their members and the wider public to disclose the environmental impacts of artificial turf pitches. FIFA asked us as an independent technical specialist to carry out a life cycle assessment of different types of artificial turf, and to investigate recycling options.

Since 2006, 3,437 FIFA-certified pitches have been laid in 146 countries. Our Life Cycle Assessment Specialist Simon Hann carried out an in-depth analysis of the environmental impacts of the different types of materials that can be used to make artificial turf.

Our team:

  • Carried out ground-breaking research to identify the factors that influence the environmental impact of artificial football turf;
  • Carried out research into current recycling options for artificial turf;
  • Identified the different recycling technologies available in different parts of the world;
  • Compared the environmental impact of different materials, including modelling the impact of a shock pad, and the outcomes of different recycling processes;
  • Listed the companies recycling artificial turf on a global basis; and
  • Provided specific advice on the best options in a variety of locations across the globe.

Federico Addiechi, Head of Sustainability at FIFA, said:

“FIFA believes we all have a responsibility to protect, cherish and limit our impact on the environment. We take this responsibility seriously and have been engaging with experts to find sensible ways of addressing environmental issues linked to our activities, including climate change and waste accumulation. With the environmental impact study in hand we have a better understanding of the impacts of artificial turf, which will help us, our key stakeholders and hopefully the industry to develop more effective mitigation measures for both end-of-life solutions and future pre-emptive design.”

Eunomia Consultant and Project Manager, Simon Hann said:

“It is fantastic to see FIFA taking the lead on this important issue. With the popularity of artificial turf continuing to grow due to the associated health and social benefits of all year round pitch use it is an important time to highlight key choices that can be made to improve their environmental impact. We have highlighted the increasing concern that there are very few credible recycling routes and as, annually, over 2 million tonnes of artificial turf are predicted to need disposal worldwide by 2020, recyclers, manufacturers and pitch owners must work together to make sure their disposal is not an environmental disaster.”

We apply our life cycle assessment skills to all industries, as well as analysing materials and carrying out modelling across a variety of countries at different stages of economic development.

The report is available to download here.