No EU plans for an artificial turf ban

Infill for artificial turf is an important application
for crumb rubber from end-of-life tyre recycling
24.07.2019 − 

The European Commission has distanced itself from media reports that it plans to ban artificial turf playing surfaces. It has "no plans to propose a ban on artificial turf playing surfaces". However, it was considering "how to best address the environmental and health impact of certain microplastics and encourage the development of sustainable alternatives," a Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

In this context, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is currently running a public consultation on the use of microplastics intentionally added to products such as cleaners. As infill granulates for synthetic turf pitches could fall within the definition of "intentionally added microplastics" being considered by ECHA, the agency also asked for input on these granulates as part of the consultation. The information is to be used to assess the need to exempt the use of rubber and plastic infill in sports fields from a future ban or restrictions on microplastics. Infill is an important application for rubber from end-of-life tyre (ELT) recycling.

The primary focus of ECHA's consultation is microplastics intentionally added to products such as fertilisers, cleaners and cosmetics. With regard to infill for artificial turf, the chemicals agency is looking, among other things, for information on what quantities of granulate are consumed each year, how much is released into the environment and what the cost of reducing or avoiding this release would be. The agency is also seeking input on the social impact of any restrictions. Adverse effects could include a reduction in the availability of sports fields.

The EU Commission stressed that it was aware of the important role sports fields play in promoting physical activity, health and social inclusion across the EU. The EU authority pledged to ensure that any proposed measures would be effective in reducing the release of microplastics and would be proportionate with regard to their social impact.



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