How does synthetic turf impact the environment?

Synthetic turf has a measurable, positive impact on the environment. Depending on the region of the country, a typical grass sports field requires between 500,000 to a million gallons of water or more each year. During 2010, between four to eight billion gallons of water were conserved through its use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water a day. Therefore, a savings of four to eight billion gallons of water equates to the annual water usage of over 27,000 to 55,000 average American families of four.

 

Tax credits and rebates are being offered to residential and corporate users by an increasing number of local governments in light of the tremendous impact on water conservation. The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that every square foot of natural grass replaced saves 55 gallons of water per year. If an average lawn is 1,800 square feet, then Las Vegas homeowners with synthetic turf could save 99,000 gallons of water each year or about $400 annually. In Atlanta, homeowners could save $715 a year, not including much higher sewer charges.

 

The estimated amount of synthetic turf currently installed has eliminated the need for millions of pounds of harmful pesticides and fertilizers, which has significant health and environmental implications. For example, according to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, polluted storm water runoff is the number one cause of water pollution in their state, with common examples including over fertilizing lawns and excessive pesticide use.

 

In addition, synthetic turf helps reduce noxious emissions (the EPA reports that a push mower emits as much pollution in one hour as 11 cars and a riding mower emits as much as 34 cars) and reduces grass clippings, which the EPA states are the third largest component of municipal solid waste in landfills.

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Category: Environment

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