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The Environmental Benefits of Artificial Turf

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When people think about artificial turf, one of the last things they consider are the environmental benefits it provides. While artificial turf and other outdoor flooring and recreational surfaces are becoming increasingly popular, people are beginning to see it may actually edge out real grass as the most eco-friendly option in certain situations. Recreational surfaces, such as our Perma-Turf, require much less maintenance than an actual lawn and massively cut down on water costs, providing a huge benefit in drought-stricken regions of the United States. We’re going to look at some of the benefits and some of the drawbacks of using recreational surfaces in place of natural grass from an environmental standpoint.

 

The Cost of Natural Lawns

It’s relatively easy to calculate the environmental drawbacks of having a natural lawn. Just like us humans, and all life on earth, grass requires water to survive, and America’s thirsty lawns gulp down a total of 21,600 gallons of water per year. Lawns that are planted on top of sandy soil are of particular concern since they drain water much more quickly, causing them to waste exorbitant amounts of water. That water usage becomes a particularly acute issue when homeowners insist on laying down sod in their lawn that isn’t suited to the local climate.

Gas powered mowers are also particularly hazardous to the environment. In 2001, Sweden’s Stockholm University did a study on the emissions output of lawnmowers. The study found that just an hour’s worth of mowing produced the same amount of smog-forming emissions as you would driving a car for 93 miles. Lawnmower manufacturers have contended that the newer models they put out have become cleaner, and they resist the call to add catalytic converters to their products. According to the Swedes, adding a catalytic converter to the lawnmower’s setup would reduce the emissions output by 80 percent.

Another major issue with natural lawns are the overuse of fertilizer. Homeowners in America use an average of 3 million metric tons of synthetic lawn fertilizer per year. If you consider the fact that it takes the fossil fuel equivalent of an entire barrel of oil to manufacture 560 pounds of synthetic fertilizer, America’s collective lawn habits cost more than 11.8 million barrels of oil annually. Tack onto that another 70 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides dumped into our lawns every year. Grass clippings can also pollute major waterways if they are improperly disposed of.

 

All Things Considered

While it isn’t entirely maintenance-free, Perma-Turf and other outdoor flooring does not require water, fertilizer, or mowing. The greatest impact it has on the environment occurs during the manufacturing process, as the production of polyethylene and other essential polymers and elastomeric coatings in faux-grass are energy intensive. One of the other problems with recreational surfaces are the inevitable disposal issues. Like the majority of plastic products, aside from those in beverage and detergent bottles, outdoor flooring is typically landfilled rather than recycled. All things considered, recreational surfaces provide an easy, safe alternative to natural surfaces. Contact Pro-Tech Surfacing at (330) 576-6058 or blouis@pro-techsurfacing.com for inquiries on our products and services.

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