The European Commission will decide only in March or April next year at the earliest whether it will adopt the proposed ban on the sale of polymeric infill. A decision was actually expected last week.
If the proposed ban is accepted, it will likely be after a grace period of six years. This will mean that the ban will only come into effect by 2030, as a decision by the EC will first have to be ratified by the World Trade Organization.
The window of 2030 will also coincide with the goal by the United Nations to achieve 50% reduction of the status quo in 2015 en route to a 100% sustainable society by 2050.
As the ban has been in the making for the past five years, an implementation in 2030 could also mean there is no longer an excuse for users of third-generation synthetic turf with polymeric infill to ask for an extension or derogation.
Although it is still legally allowed to invest in this kind of synthetic turf field, it begs the question why one would do so knowingly while a ban on the sale of this type of infill is being discussed.
The ban on the sale of this type of infill was first proposed in 2019.
According to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), third-generation synthetic turf fields are the single largest emitter of added microplastics. According to the agency, third-generation synthetic turf fields in Europe collectively emit approximately 160,000 tonnes of microplastics per annum.
While this figure has been disputed, it has been accepted by both the market and the industry that something has to be done to curb this problem.