The ESTC (European Synthetic Turf Council) as head organization of the whole European artificial turf market has started the so called PEFCR Project. The acronym stands for Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules. The goal of this project, in cooperation with the European Commission, is to create a common standard on how to measure and calculate the environmental footprint of the overall artificial turf system (excluding the subbase). Also included in this project is a virtual representative benchmark sport pitch which makes comparisons of different components/systems easier and will also allow to measure progress in the future.
This PEFCR will be developed by a Technical Secretariat which is led by the ESTC, representing the synthetic turf industry in the EMEA region. To avoid different approaches on how to evaluate the environmental impact of artificial turf systems
from the individual market players – the ESTC has chosen the PEFCR method to set:
• Common rules describing how a LCA (see below) should be carried out
• Common data sets ensuring compatibility of LCA
• Cover all phases of a product’s life – from raw materials to end of life disposal
• PEFs will become the only form of LCA recognised by the EC
• The EC will incorporate PEFs into EU procurement regulations that apply to most publicly funded projects
In preparation for the PEFCR project, we as ProGame started a cooperation with the University of Zurich and invited them to set up a comparative study that compares different turf systems with regard to environmental compatibility.
The University of Zurich did an independent and very accurate LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) study (Life Cycle Assessment of Artificial and Natural Turf Sports Fields) on several turf systems for sport pitches, installed in the area of Zurich. The main conclusion from this study was that overall environmental footprint of a football pitch can be effectively reduced by optimizing the annual usage hours and therefore because of the much higher theoretical and practical usage hours of a synthetic turf these pitches have a significant lower environmental impacts per hour of use than extensively used natural turf pitches.
With the help of the University Zurich Trocellen ProGame had done a LCA comparison analysis following their first study focusing on shock pads.
Aim of the analysis was to understand the environmental footprint of ProGame shock pad in the whole turf system and to compare construction variants for artificial turf sports fields using in-situ elastic layers + bound base layers (asphalt and gravel) to construction variants using preformed PE shock pads in combination with unbound base layers (gravel).
The university concluded that:
- Artificial turfs with an unbound base layer and shock pads reduces the environmental impacts compared to the use of same turf on an elastic layer and bound base layer. The environmental impacts of the artificial turf using shock pads in combination with an unbound base layer were lower for all the indicators analyzed.
- The greenhouse gas emissions and the total environmental impacts due to the disposal of the artificial turfs using shock pads with an unbound base layer can be even reduced by about 30 % compared to artificial turfs using elastic layer and unbound base layer.
- We can therefore easily claim that the environmental impact of our shock pad construction is not negligible – but very small compared to the total system impact.
We at Trocellen take the environmental topic very seriously, being part of the first PEFCR sport study done on our standard product. Parallelly, aiming to reduce the environmental footprint, we have started several projects which will be introduced in the market very soon.
Please contact if you would like to know more about our LCA comparison study or our commitment to sustainability.