Italian trio join forces to produce recyclable synthetic turf

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A trio of Italian firms, Versalis, RadiciGroup and Safitex, have announced that they are collaborating on an all-Italian project to produce fully recyclable artificial turf for sports pitches.

The companies presented the initiative – in which Versalis will supply the raw material (polyethylene), RadiciGroup, the fibres and Safitex will manufacturer the turf – during the environmental trade fair Ecomondo, 6-9 Nov in Rimini, Italy.

The companies, said a spokesperson from Radici, are seeking to reduce the end-of-life impact of this application on the environment through the development of a solution based on the principles of circularity.

Currently, synthetic grass turf is disposed of through landfill or incineration, which produces greenhouse gas emissions. According to Radici, this is due to the fact that in many cases, artificial turf is made from a combination of materials, making it difficult to recycle. The product of the present project will be made of a single material only  - “a requirement if it is to be able to be recycled”, said the spokesperson at Radici.

Applications for the recycled turf could include shin guards, elbow pads and bibs or for furnishings such as vases, accessories and garden equipment.

As part of the project, which has been initiated within the context of the ‘Made Green In Italy’ commitment, the three companies have individually carried out a life cycle assessment (LCA), each for their own product, to assess the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the product's life. This has resulted in each being issued with a Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) certificate by independent certification body Certiquality. The PEF, approved by the European Commission, has been developed to offer a standard method for measuring and communicating environmental performance throughout the life cycle of services and products.

Italy’s ‘Made Green In Italy’, a voluntary commitment programme for the evaluation and communication of the environmental footprint of products that was adopted in June of this year, implements the PEF methodological framework developed by the EC. Among other things, the programme aims to enable informed choices to be made on the part of citizens, with a view to promoting the development of sustainable consumption, while  guaranteeing the transparency and comparability of the environmental performance of these products.

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