Opening up about the end of use

The ESTC End of Use Working Group reflects the entire synthetic turf value chain. Its purpose is to collect and build on the experience and best practices to recapitalise on old synthetic turf. Working Group chairman Eric O’Donnell reports.

The recycling and removal of synthetic turf has become a hot topic in recent debates. With most markets in Europe having reached a point where the first installations of synthetic turf have come up for replacement, it appears that few owners of synthetic turf fields have been prepared for the question of ‘what to do with the old turf?’ In light of the growing environmental awareness in society and the drive towards a more sustainable future, ESTC has recognised a need to establish a Working Group to guide the preparation thereof, and to disseminate relevant information.

Members of the ESTC End of Use Working Group represent the entire synthetic turf value chain. Members include raw material suppliers BASF, Dow, and Total, together with removal and recycling companies Advanced Sports Installations Europe, PR Recycling, and Re-Match, complemented by manufacturing and installation companies FieldTurf Tarkett, Sport Group (Polytan, Melos and Astroturf), and TenCate Grass Group (Ten Cate yarns and GreenFields).

Sharing knowledge

Although the debate about old synthetic turf and the re-use of reclaimed materials is fairly new, the collective knowledge and experience that members of the Working Group have, is massive. The Working Group will benefit from this with immediate effect. The Working Group has established the following agenda:

  1. To improve knowledge of waste streams and of what can be done with the ‘waste’.
  2. To share knowledge and experience with regards to what the industry is doing to tackle waste, recycling, and the carbon footprint.
  3. To highlight best practice for processes which facilitate recycling. These best practices should help with the publication of an ESTC Guideline.
  4. To educate buyers and end-users about what to expect when they intend to make use of a recycling/reuse/repurpose service.

Adding value

Providing old synthetic turf is removed correctly and removed by a company that pursues a higher purpose, synthetic turf has an advantage in that all the components can be used for another purpose. This requires all companies in the synthetic turf value chain to recognise (and, where necessary, to adopt) the waste hierarchy that most societies, these days, pursue.



One of the main agenda points for this Working Group is the establishment of an End of Use passport for old synthetic turf. Where a Product Datasheet would provide insight into what a synthetic turf field was made of, the ESTC End of Use passport would help track fields that have been removed and establish the new purpose that has been given to the various components.


On 1st July 2020, Working Group chairman Eric O’Donnell updated ESTC members about the plans and progress of the Working Group in a webinar. 


End of use

Environmental activities

ESTC environmental activities taking shape

ESTC has formed two new Working Groups that will each focus on specific aspects of the environment.

The End-of-Use Working Group will focus solely on all aspects related to synthetic turf that will no longer be of use to its original owner. It will discuss and work on documentation related to the correct removal and disposal procedures of synthetic turf products. Eric O’Donnell of Sports Labs has volunteerd to chair this Working Group.

The second newly formed Working Group will focus on drafting the category rules for the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) of synthetic turf.

As communicated before, following a thorough application process, ESTC has been selected as representative of one of 5 industries to participate in the project initiated by the European Commission. This working group will also handle all issues related to microplastics. Colin Young of the TenCate Grass Group has volunteered to chair the PEF CR & Microplastics Working Group. He will be assisted by a Technical Secretariat who will represent the synthetic turf industry in the PEF CR project from the European Union. Furthermore, ESTC has selected the consultant Pré to assist us in understanding the technical requirements and guiding us through all paperwork associated with the project.

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