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Is Artificial Turf Good for the Environment

The artificial turf industry has been booming over the past few years and there are many reasons why people are switching the real out for the synthetic. Synthetic grass can save individuals time and money on many of the activities that real grass requires. But what are the impacts of synthetic grass on the environment, and are the better or worse than the effects of real grass? This partly depends on where you live and how serious you are about lawn care, but here are some other factors to consider.

One thing that most people will not miss when switching to artificial turf is having to mow the lawn, and the environment will not miss it either. Gas-powered motors, much like a gas-powered car, put off environment-choking emissions. In fact, using some mowers for just an hour will pollute the air just as much as driving a car over ninety miles. Lawnmower manufactures are working on less pollutant models but they still can't beat not mowing at all.

The amount of water used to keep a lawn rejuvenated and green is also another area for concern. The typical American uses over 21,000 gallons of water each year on their lawn. The region you live in plays a huge factor in water waste as well. If you live in areas that are frequent stuck in droughts or you live in places with sandy soil then you will be using a lot more water.

Another wasteful move is when homeowners lay sod that isn't suited for the particular climate they live in. Since artificial turf does not require watering it has a large energy-saving benefit over regular grass. And this doesn't even begin to cover how much money and energy you can save in replacing the grass on athletic fields with artificial grass.

Another way artificial turf is better for the environment than regular grass is its lack of fertilizing. American homeowners use an alarming amount of synthetic fertilizers each year. The amount of fossil fuel that goes into making this fertilizer is equal to about 11.8 million barrels of oil every year. And this doesn't even include the millions of pounds of herbicides and pesticides we use each year. This all totals up to an enormous waste that is completely absent with fake grass. The biggest environmental waste with artificial turf happens when the product is manufactured. Since the materials are all synthetic plastics it requires a decent amount of energy to produce it.

One other complaint against artificial turf is that the crumbs of rubber packed beneath the grass, which are present to provide stability and cushioning, are harmful if inhaled. Still those involved in the artificial grass industry say there is no science to back up these claims and there are alternatives without these rubber crumbs. Another complaint some people have against fake grass is that there are big disposal issues whenever you need to get rid of the grass.

Like a lot of other plastics fake turf often finds its way to landfills instead of being recycled. But there has been a huge push towards reversing this and many of the top artificial turf manufacturers are now producing products that are 100% recyclable. Old turf can actually be recycled for many different things, including crude oil, artificial lumber, and new turf and backing.