Recycling artificial grass is a worldwide problem. A report from Dutch current affairs TV programme Zembla recently showed there is a massive breach of environmental regulations by Dutch recycling companies. Used artificial grass sports fields are stored or dumped illegally in foreign countries, and are hardly being recycled.
Eco-conscious company Royal Grass starts with new collection and recycling program. In the Netherlands and Belgium, you can have your artificial grass collected and recycled so it won’t end up on the dump. Royal Grass is conscious of its impact on the future and believes we owe this to ourselves, our children and our children’s children.
Royal Grass does not manufacture sports fields, but artificial grass for gardens, roof terraces and public spaces. We want to prevent that our artificial grass will cause a problem similar to that of these sports fields”, says director and founder of Royal Grass, Freek Verhoeven. “Since our start in 2003, we believe that it is important to offer our customers the opportunity to return used artificial grass, so the material can be reused in an environmental-friendly way instead of ending up on the plastic waste mountain. We have that obligation to ourself, to our children and to the children of our children.
System of collecting and recycling
For that reason, Royal Grass is setting up a whole system of collection and recycling. Customers are informed of the possibility to have their used artificial grass collected through the warranty registration system. The collected artificial turf will then be recycled by a specialist company. Royal Grass has entered a collaboration agreement with the Danish recycling company Re-Match.
“Our first artificial grass installations are almost 15 years old now”, Verhoeven continues. “That is the minimum lifespan of Royal Grass so in the coming years we can expect the first users who want to have a new artificial lawn installed. That is why we are now starting this project. First in the Netherlands and Belgium, but we have the intention to extend this initiative to other countries. At a later stage, we want to reuse the recycled plastic for the production of new artificial grass to complete the circle.”
Cooperation with Re-Match
Recycling artificial grass is a technically difficult process, because the blades of grass and the cloth to which the blades are attached are made of plastic while the underlayer is usually made of latex. These different materials first have to be separated before the artificial grass carpet can be recycled. Separating the different materials is an expensive process and most recycling companies do not have the technical capacity required for this. The Danish Re-Match however has developed a patented technique to separate and recycle the different materials. Coincidentally, seven years ago, Royal Grass developed the eco-friendly EcoSense grass, where both the grass and the underlayer are made of plastic, making recycling easier.