TenCate Develops PFAS-Free Synthetic Turf

Turf on an athletic field

(Credit: UnSplash)

by | Jan 10, 2024

This article is included in these additional categories:

TenCate has begun manufacturing artificial grass turf without using PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” known for their polluting properties and inability to easily break down naturally in the environment or the body.

The company recently used a third party to review its turf manufacturing process and found trace amounts of non-soluble PFAS used in fiber extrusion. TenCate was then able to replace the processing aid with a PFAS-free alternative.

TenCate Implements Turf Recycling, Biodegradable Materials

In addition to removing PFAs from its manufacturing process, TenCate has partnered with Cyclx International and ExxonMobil for a program to recycle end-of-life synthetic turf in the United States.

The program has developed new, advanced recycling methods to break down old turf and turn it into molecular building blocks for plastic products and to make new turf. The company also offers biodegradable infill, made from a recyclable inorganic mineral, as well as cork- and walnut-based natural materials to be used as alternatives to conventional, rubber infills.

TenCate said that turf offers a solution for areas experiencing water scarcity or drought that may be otherwise unable to maintain natural grass fields. TenCate also said that turf may go without constant mowing, watering, or the use of potentially harmful pesticides or fertilizers, providing additional environmental benefits.

Meanwhile, some sources are concerned about the loss of wildlife habitat associated with installing turf in areas that previously featured natural green space, among other potential environmental risks. Using turf to replace residential lawns, for instance, takes away many benefits associated with grass, such as soaking up moisture, providing a home for insects, and feeding birds.

TenCate’s sustainability efforts address some of these concerns, at least for areas where turf is already being used, and the recent elimination of PFAS may respond to additional concerns about plastics used in its products.

Consumer Awareness of PFAS Increases, EPA Releases Rules to Limit Their Use

PFAS have received attention recently for their potential adverse health effects, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized a rule that requires companies to disclose their PFAS management and use on the same reporting level as chemicals like mercury and lead. Many states legislatures have also made efforts to ban certain products that contain PFAS altogether.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the presence of PFAS in products they use, with many reportedly willing to spend more to avoid the potentially harmful chemicals. For instance, a survey done by CleanHub found that many cosmetics customers pay close attention to ingredients used in a given product and seek out brands that avoid the use of certain chemicals, PFAS included.

“It’s important to note that third-party testing of previous versions of our artificial turf detected only minuscule levels of non-soluble PFAS,” said Joe Fields, president and CEO of TenCate Americas. “These were far lower than the levels that have been found in common consumer products like dental floss and prescription medications, and significantly less than that allowed by the Food and Drug Administration in packaging for food. We still took action, however, because we’re dedicated to giving our customers complete peace of mind.”

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This