FIFA Environmental Impact Study on synthetic turf strongly welcomed by ESTO shockpad Working Group

The ESTO shockpad working group is very positive about the outcome of the FIFA environmental impact study on synthetic turf.

In April 2017, FIFA published a study about the environmental impact on synthetic turf, as the number of pitches to be replaced is becoming very high, and the whole industry must consider the effect of what is being/will be installed. In many countries, there are currently discussions about micro plastics and the environmental effect of synthetic. This FIFA study looks into the environmental impact of the current materials and systems, what the current disposal options are, and how to make the best decisions so that in ten years’ time, today’s pitches are not causing more environmental issues.

In the study three main factors are addressed which have the biggest influence in the environmental impact of synthetic football turf :

  • the choice of infill material;
  • the decision regarding whether to use a shock pad or not; and
  • the type of treatment used at the end of life.

The environmental impact of the components (secondary backing – primary backing – pile – stabilising infill – performance infill – optional shockpad) are therefore often dominated by the infill material. Similarly, the use of a shockpad can reduce the need for infill material and therefore, also has a large bearing on the environmental impact of the turf system.

The installation of a shockpad can considerably reduce the environmental impact when used alongside – often virgin polymer – performance infills due to the reduction in the need for infill by 50–60%. Where a shockpad is used, it is very environmentally beneficial to leave it in place for re-use when a new turf is installed. Re-using it need not impact performance quality of the pitch. A test should be performed to assess reusability.

Even after two lifetimes most used shockpads can be recycled to new shockpad for synthetic turf.

Adding the optimized sport performance, the extended durability, the constant performance and the environmental positive effect, shockpads are becoming an important part of the turf system for future installations.

For more information about shockpads please contact one of the members of the ESTO WG Shockpads.