The German state of North Rine-Westphalia has decided to only support the construction of synthetic turf pitches that use environmentally friendly alternatives – such as cork or quartz sand – to polymeric infill. When renewing filling materials in artificial turf pitches, the state government recommends the use of environmentally friendly filling materials by the municipalities or sponsors of the synthetic turf pitch.
“The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is proactively positioning itself for the future, so that the amount of microplastics in our cities and municipalities can be successively and sustainably reduced,” explains Ina Scharrenbach, Minister of Homeland, Municipal Affairs, Building and Equality. Recommendations for action are now available on the ministry’s homepage, describing details of the use of plastic granules in the first-time production or renewal of synthetic turf pitches in North Rhine-Westphalia. Among other things, references to various funding programmes are reproduced there.
“The construction of synthetic turf pitches without plastic filling granules is eligible for funding,” Minister Scharrenbach sums up the joint approach. “The state government considers technical measures to avoid the discharge of granules for existing synthetic turf pitches to be sensible. For environmental policy reasons, it is therefore already advisable to switch to environmentally friendly alternatives for upcoming innovations. This is in everyone’s interest.”
Synthetic turf pitches are popular – especially in conurbations – because sports playing areas are often scarce and intensive use is possible. Synthetic turf is much less sensitive in wet and cold conditions than natural green areas, which repeatedly require rest periods. Since synthetic turf can be used almost around the clock, many clubs – supported by the state and the municipalities – have often switched to the alternative to natural grass pitches.