• Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

Biodegradable synthetic turf field goes on trial

The first biodegradable synthetic turf field will be installed at EHS’85 in Emmen, the Netherlands. The project is a partnership between Senbis Polymer Innovations, Sweco engineers, AnteaSport, Edelgrass and TenCate Grass.

This GreenMaxx field is the result of a research assignment from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. EHS’85 will receive a 1000 m2 small-sided games field which will consist of a biodegradable synthetic turf carpet and infill. The field can be fully recycled or converted to compost at the end of its life.

Collaboration essential for successful innovation

In 2019, Senbis Polymer Innovations was one of the winners of a tender issued by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in order to further stimulate sustainable innovations in this sector.

The company is an expert in the field of bioplastics and was looking for collaboration opportunities with innovative companies in the synthetic turf sector in order to deliver the assignment accordingly. A consortium was formed with Sweco engineers, installing company AnteaSport, artificial turf producer Edelgrass and yarn supplier TenCate.

Demonstrating the sports performance of the field in real circumstances and under different weather conditions is the final step to meet the requirements of sports associations such as the Dutch FA (KNVB) hence the installation at EHS’85. The project is financially backed by the municipality of Emmen and the province of Drenthe.

Henk Brink (Deputy for Economy and Sport, province of Drenthe) is pleased with this ground breaking innovation hailing from Emmen. “Making our economy more sustainable is important and the reuse of materials is central to this. This circular synthetic turf field proves once again that our business community here in Drenthe is at the forefront of the transition to a green economy.” René van der Weide (Alderman for Sustainability and Sport, Municipality of Emmen) believes it is important that the Municipality of Emmen contributes to this sustainable development: “The quality of sports accommodations is important for the quality of life. With this sustainable field for small-sided games, EHS’85 can move forward for years to come.”

GreenFill granules

Senbis and the consortium partners already achieved success in 2018 with the introduction of the first biodegradable alternative to the crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields. This GreenFill was successfully used in a pilot field at SC Erica in 2019, after which a number of full-sized pitches were installed at football clubs throughout the Netherlands in 2020. GreenFill is now widely available and is an asset to clubs that require a good technical performance of crumb rubber or TPE infill but want a solution for microplastic pollution around the field. Much knowledge about performance and degradability in practice was gained from the GreenFill pilot project. The consortium intends to include these experiences in the GreenMaxx pilot.

‘Most sustainable artificial turf in the world’

The immediate surroundings of synthetic turf pitches is not only burdened by the infill, but also by yarn wear. Senbis claims that, by applying both GreenMaxx and GreenFill, microplastic pollution around the field will be a thing of the past. The field is also compostable. Even if the carpet could not be recycled, the compost heap is always an option to prevent creating waste problems. In addition, the raw materials for GreenMaxx mainly consist of biomass and are renewable.

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