The issue with artificial grass fields
Artificial grass yarn is typically made of polyethylene. The woven backing of the field is typically also a polyolefin, a traditional oil based plastic. The whole system is then usually ‘glued’ together using a latex. When installed as a sports field usually an infill such as used car tire granules are being applied. This resulting system will lead to microplastic pollution and is very difficult to recycle. Therefore there is unfortunately still an end-of-life problem for artificial grass, which until recently has resulted in the massively piling up of old fields.
Senbis won government tender to solve the problem
In 2020, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports has granted Senbis Polymer Innovations B.V. an assignment to come up with a good end-of-life solution for artificial grass systems. The project is has been executed under the name of GreenMaxx by a consortium consisting of Sweco Nederland, Antea Sport, EdelGrass, TenCate Grass and Senbis Polymer Innovations B.V..
A fully compostable and recyclable grass field
The then developed GreenMaxx concept is fully recyclable and compostable. This means that at the end of its functional life, this grass field can be collected and brought to a recycling- or a composting facility. As GreenMaxx is constructed out of one compound only, it can easily be grinded without the need to disassemble the product into its different components first; the acquired regrind can be applied for production of new polymer products. At the ultimate end of its (raw material) lifetime, GreenMaxx can also be composted; the compost can then be used as e.g. soil fertilizer.
In addition to these end-of-life solutions, the consortium had the ambition to also address the microplastic pollution problem of artificial grass. During its lifetime, an artificial grass field wears out and pollutes the environment with microplastic particles. As GreenMaxx is produced from a biodegradable compound, it also prevents the spread of microplastics.