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Environmentally friendly recycling of artificial turf
This year, over 10 000 sport fields made of artificial turf be installed, worldwide it should be more then 50 000 sport fields made from artificial turf.
Many independent studies have also demonstrated that the risk of injury for the athletes on artificial turf is not higher as on natural grass.
Therefore it is not surprising that more and more clubs are installing artificial turf.
The average life on an artificial turf field, depending on quality of the used fiber, is around 10 – 15 years, probably this year over 3000 fields will be replaced.
Because of the construction of sport fields, special in Germany, with an elastic basement, usually only the artificial turf carpet with the sand / rubber mix will be replaced.
To achieve the desired playing characteristic of such a system, this artificial turf carpets are filled with a mixture of about 25 kg sand and 5 – 8 kg rubber ore elastomers.
This mixture is called in professional circles as “Infill”.
To replace the worn artificial turf, in the first step a combination of a brush and vacuum system is taking out a maximum of this Infill.
This material can be used again for the re installation.
In the next step the carpet will be rolled up.
This rug contents about 1,5 kg/m² recyclable Polymer (about 95 % Polyolefin) and about 10 – 15 kg/m² of Sand.
Meanwhile there are machines available, that tears the carpets rolls, and can shred it into 100 – 400 cm² sized pieces.
Through this crushing operation, the proportion of sand in the carpet will be reduced to 3 – 5 kg sand per Square meter, together with the Polymer the weight of this mixture is around 4-6 kg/ m².
This shredded carpet is now often used as fuel for the cement production, the cost of burning this mixture, is about 100 – 150 €/tons.
The total costs for burning a worn artificial turf field, in for the cement production, are about 3.000 – 4.500 € for each field.
Additional the transportation costs of 500 – 1.000 € have to be added.
Alternative, this material can also convert into a usable product.
For this way, the small carpet pieces will be crushed with a hammer mill.