ESTC congress postponed until November

ESTC has decided to postpone its 2020 congress. With countries having implemented travel restrictions because of the coronavirus, hosting a conference with many members absent would defeat the purpose of the event.

The new dates for the event will be 16 – 18 November. The congress will still take place at the Ambassadeur Hotel in Juan-les-Pines, near Nice.

The booking form and updated programme (where applicable) for the November event, will be distributed in due course.

Telco on ST plans of World Rugby

Marc Douglas has accepted an invitation by the ESTC to host a conference call to explain plans World Rugby has to limit the environmental impact of synthetic turf. The new plans include reducing the pile length, more attention to the quality of the shockpad as well as a the enforcement of measures that will maintain the infill within the field perimeter.

The Telco will take place on Thursday 19 March, 11am CET and is only open to members of the ESTC.

Interested ESTC members can announce their participation here

All relevant details regarding this teleconference will be send by email on Monday 16 March.

ECHA opinion delayed by 3 months

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has decided to take an extra three months to finalize its opinion on the proposed restriction on intentionally added microplastics. The consolidated opinion of ECHA’s Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) is now expected in June this year.

The standard 12 months reserved for the committees’ opinion formation has been extended due to the high number of comments received through the public consultation. ECHA also acknowledges the complexity of the issues to be evaluated.

The public consultation on the proposal to restrict the use of intentionally added microplastic particles closed on 20 September 2019. By that time ECHA had received 477 individual comments.

2020 ESTC conference confirmed

The ESTC announced today the dates and venue for the 2020 conference.

Next’ year event will be held on 1 and 2 April with Working Group meetings scheduled for the first day and conference speakers lined up for the second day. The organising team is currently also working on arrangements for site-visits on 3 April.

The conference theme will be: Synthetic turf in a changing society.

The event will be hosted at the Ambassadeur Hotel in Antibes, Juan les Pins in France.

ESTC conferences are the biggest gatherings of professionals in the synthetic turf industry within the EMEA region. Apart from receiving the latest updates on trends and developments, the events also provide ample opportunity to network and meet other people from the industry.

ESTC and SASPI strengthen ties

The EMEA Synthetic Turf Council (ESTC) and the South African Sports and Play Industry (SASPI) have agreed to further explore opportunities to jointly develop the synthetic turf industry in Africa.

Representatives of both organisations used the FSB Show in Cologne, Germany, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to closely work together in the interest of both the synthetic turf industry and the market.

“Africa is a very important continent for us as most of our members develop synthetic turf solutions with the diversity of Africa’s climate and geographical conditions in mind. We are very pleased to know that SASPI shares our eagerness to further develop the market. SASPI is a well-established organisation and unites almost all quality players in the market for synthetic turf in South Africa. A close partnership would certainly help both SASPI and the ESTC to take matters to the next level,” says ESTC Director General Stefan Diderich.

ESTC is the industry association for the synthetic turf industry in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. It closely works with the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) in North-America and serves as the forum to promote, develop, grow and advocate for the synthetic turf industry.

“Synthetic turf provides a water and energy-saving solution to green gardens and public spaces as well as delivering a quality and safe sports surface in any location. However, it is important that investors spend their money correctly. Therefore the ESTC continuously liaise with authorities at every level to develop and improve the quality standards for the industry,” Diderich adds.

Good examples are the quality guidelines that the ESTC recently introduced for landscaping turf, and the improved quality standard for UV-testing. “By embracing our protocol for UV-testing, FIFA, World Rugby and FIH have made sure that clubs and players will have more joy from their investment.”

SASPI CEO Jeremy Stewart views a partnership as a way to further inform and educate the market. “South Africa is in the unique position of being the only country on the African continent that has a well-established synthetic turf production and installation industry. A close relationship with the ESTC would really help us in guiding and educating our market and helping the end-user to invest their money wisely.”

Vote of confidence for Council

The ESTC Council has received a vote of confidence from its members. The three members whose seats were up for election, have all been re-elected. The council has been further strengthened with the election of Stefaan Florquin (Re-Match).

The ESTC Council is made up of 10 members, including two vice-presidents, who are elected for a 3-year period.

Elections were needed as the term of four council members was coming to an end on the of November 1st. Three of the Council members indicated that they would like to extend their participation in the Council and would stand for re-election. They were challenged by several other members keen to join the Council.

ESTC members were invited to cast their vote for the council members during September and October. The final result is that Friedemann Söll of Polytan, Luca Girelli of Trocellen and Frenk Stoop of Sekisui Alveo have been re-elected and that Stefaan Florquin will join the Council.

“The fact that three current Council members have been re-elected shows that the work that is being done is appreciated by the membership. There are many challenges ahead but we are confident that with a strong Council in place, and the support of an active membership, these challenges can be met,” ESTC Director General Stefan Diderich says. “The ESTC Council wishes to thank outgoing Council member Aurélien Leblan (Labosport) for his commitment to the Council over the past years.”

The ESTC
Executive Chairman: Stefan Diderich
Vice President: Friedemann Söll, Polytan
Vice President: Hein Heerink, TenCate Grass

Council members:
Frenk Stoop (Sekisui Alveo)
Luca Girelli (Trocellen)
Stefaan Florquin (Re-Match)
Massimo Seghezzi (Radici P Industries)
Gert-Jan Kieft (Kiwa ISA Sport)
Jaroslav Buda (Juta)
Frédéric Rasschaert (BFS Europe)
Susanne Thillaye (Eurofield)

Technical Consultant: Alastair Cox
Director of Operations: Natasja Faelens

EC will welcome ESTC PEF input

The European Commissions has responded positively to the ESTC proposal to help draft the Product Environmental Footprint regulation on synthetic turf.

An ESTC delegation presented the proposal to the EU in mid-September.

“Convincing the EC that drafting a Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) regulation for synthetic turf is essential and is a big achievement as we were competing for this recognition with several other industries. In most cases, the turnover and number of products these industries represented were higher than those we tabled. Nevertheless, we managed to convince the EU of the importance of synthetic turf by pointing out the positive contributions it makes to society,” says ESTC Director General Stefan Diderich.

The recognition is only the first step. “With our proposal accepted, we now have to establish a taskforce that will spearhead the drafting of the document. We also have to secure the funding for this project. Therefore, we call on our members and the industry to reconsider their involvement in the industry by jumping at this opportunity to actively make things happen.”

Changing attitude
Without taking anything from the delegation who presented the proposal, the ESTC is also sensing a changing attitude. “Our vocal response in the debate about PAHs or microplastics, as well as our proactive approach towards institutions like the EU, FIFA, FIH or World Rugby, haven’t gone unnoticed. FIFA has already embraced the ESTC as being the representative for the synthetic turf industry and the positive response from the EU shows that they too see and understand our significance.”

People and companies keen to get involved in the drafting of the document can visit the ESTC stand during the upcoming FSB event. This event will take place from 5 November to 8 November at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. The ESTC stand will be located in Hall 10.2, A24.

“We will also host a teleconference early next year to update our members. Obviously, the PEF will also be on the agenda for our conference in Nice on 1 and 2 April 2020.”

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ESTC statement on PFAS

Concerns have been raised over the possible presence of PFAS in synthetic turf fields. The PFAS substance group contains over 6,000 substances, some of which have been identified as toxic or hardly degradable. Linking the presence of PFAS in soil to synthetic turf is unjustified and premature.

PFAS are a broad group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemical compounds that are used for their fire-resistant, dirt-repellent and water-repellent properties. They have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are used in many everyday items such as paint, fire-fighting foam, non-stick pans, clothing, cosmetics and pizza boxes.

Due to the widespread use of PFAS, testing for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds runs a high risk of cross-contamination and false positive results.

Manufacturers in Europe have to comply with standards, protocols and quantity restrictions legislated by the EU. Since 2006 they also have to comply with the REACH regulation, which addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impact on both human health and the environment.

Under REACH, companies using PFAS are required to have their negative impact on human beings assessed. They will only be allowed to use a PFAS when the substance is considered not harmful.

The ESTC is currently monitoring the debate and will update members and the industry once we have received additional information.

ESTC at the FSB

The ESTC will be present at the upcoming FSB show in Cologne, Germany. Come visit us in Hall 10.2, A24!

It goes without saying that the ESTC will be present at the industry’s largest bi-annual event. A record record-breaking number of ESTC members will exhibit this year, while many more members have indicated to they will visit attend the event.

Therefore, the ESTC stand in Hall 10.2, row A24 will serve as a meeting point for both our members and representatives of the synthetic turf industry. Our spacious stand has ample space to accommodate formal and informal meeting between members and visitors while our crew is on standby to assist anybody looking for the stand of our members.
Member of the ESTCMembership of the ESTC is a reflection of a company’s desire to innovate and to improve the industry as well as serving the interest of buyers and users. The ESTC sees to it that our members abide by these guiding principles. Make sure that you visit our members. They can easily be identify identified by a sticker that states that they are a member of the ESTC.