EU countries have voted in favour of a proposal to restrict the placement onto the market of microplastics that are intentionally added to products. However, instead of the transitional period of six years for polymeric infill for third-generation synthetic turf the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) had proposed, it has been decided to grant the industry an eight-year grace period.
The REACH committee of the European Union voted on the proposal in the last week of April.
The European Parliament and Council will now have a three-month scrutiny period before they will vote on the proposal. Such a vote will require a majority of 55% of the European countries. This 55% should represent 65% of the population in Europe. When adopted, the regulation will enter into force across Europe immediately.
The proposal will apply to all polymeric infill for third-generation synthetic turf. This includes SBR, EPDM and TPE with a particle size of less than 5mm.
By voting in favour of the proposal, REACH estimates that, over 20 years, the proposed restriction would prevent the release into the environment of about half a million tonnes of microplastics, at an estimated total cost up to €19 billion.