• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Introduce “functional period” criterion for biodegradable polymeric infill

A Member of the European Parliament has requested a “functional period” criterion to be introduced for assessing the degradability of biodegradable polymeric infill.

The request was made by Jan Huitema of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. Huitema serves on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.

Huitema has made the request, as the European Commission appears to be reluctant to exclude biodegradable polymeric infill from the proposed ban on the sale of polymeric infills.

At present, biodegradable products are expected to dissolve 90% within six months when placed in water or within two years when placed in soil. These conditions rule biodegradable polymeric infills for third-generation synthetic turf pitches out as a sustainable alternative for the polymeric infills, which the EC wants to ban the placement of onto the market. Most synthetic turf top-layers are expected to last for eight years minimum.

Huitema has posed the following two questions:

  • Why has the Commission not placed synthetic turf applications in the same category as products for agricultural and horticultural applications as regards the requirements for demonstrating polymer degradability?
  • Would the Commission consider placing synthetic turf applications in the same category as products for agricultural and horticultural applications as regards the requirements for demonstrating polymer degradability, given that innovative and more sustainable solutions like biodegradable infill will otherwise be withheld from the market?

Vote postponed again

Sportsfields.info has learnt that on 1 March 2023, the European Commission decided to, again, postpone voting on the proposal to ban the sale of polymeric infill after a transitional period of six years.

The matter has now been put on the roll for a vote in April.

Furthermore, Sportsfields.info has learnt that authorities have also started looking at closing loopholes that would allow polymeric infills from reclaimed synthetic turf surfaces being used as an infill in a new carpet. If they succeed in doing so, this will mean that from 2029, polymeric infills can no longer be placed onto the market or transferred to another synthetic turf installation project.

Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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