This study, commissioned by FIFA, examines the volume of waste resulting from the replacement of artificial football pitches, and how this material can best be managed.
FIFA sets a standard for the use of artificial turf in the game of football, in particular through its Quality Programme for Football Turf. Since 2006, 3,437 pitches have been certified. As fields come to be replaced, FIFA wanted to understand the best way of disposing of used fields and the environmental impacts of producing, removing and disposing of artificial football turf.
The three main factors that influence the environmental impact of artificial football turf, which are:
- The choice of infill material;
- Whether a shock pad is used or not; and
- The type of treatment used at the end of life.
Recycling of artificial football turf is not widespread. The majority of the manufacturers interviewed for this study claimed their products are ‘recyclable’, but technologies to remove, separate and clean the main components of the turf are still
being perfected and at the moment the best processes are still ‘open-loop’. Despite these issues, recycling is a viable option particularly in Europe.
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