The European Commission has adopted the ban on the sale of polymer infills. The ban will take effect from 2031. The decision should help the EC to achieve its target of 400,000 tonnes less microplastic pollution by 2040.
That goal now appears to be easy to achieve, because the EC believes that the infill for synthetic turf fields alone accounts for 16,000 tons of microplastic pollution per year.
Both the synthetic turf industry and market have fought tooth and nail to get plans for the ban overturned. The Dutch, German and French synthetic turf market and industry believed that risk management measures are sufficient to combat microplastic pollution. The risk management measures are now a standard part of the FIFA manual for synthetic turf fields.
The EC largely agrees with this view, but pointed out that knowledge about and application of the solutions is still not common in many European countries. To enforce this, it was forced to take far-reaching measures.
The ban effectively means that polymer infills may no longer be placed onto the market from 2031. Synthetic turf fields with polymer infills that are already being used at that time, can continue to be used until the end of their lifespan.