Calculating the environmental impact of a natural turf sports pitch is the focus of a recently published research project.
Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a Life Cycle Analysis to determine the environmental impact of a natural turf pitch through its useable life, from harvesting grass seed, through pitch construction, maintenance and eventual replacement.
Plant reproduction material sector group Plantum, has funded and published this research.
The data will help specifiers make informed decisions about the type of sports surface they recommend, taking into account the sustainability of both construction and ongoing maintenance.
Because inputs vary according to the site and intensity of use, researchers mapped out four levels of usage, ranging from 250 to 500 hours per year.
Plantum, whose members are active in plant breeding, propagation, and the production and trade of seeds and young plants, commissioned Blonk Milieuadvies to carry out the research in Gouda in the first half of 2012. A steering group, which included representatives from the supply chain, supervised the project under the auspices of two independent experts from research institutions outside the Netherlands.
One of the companies involved in Plantum is Everris, supplier of speciality fertilizers, plant protection products and grass seed to the sports turf industry.
The company's International Technical Manager, Stuart Staples, said: "We know that grass has many environmental benefits, but to date we have been unable to accurately quantify the impact of the various inputs that contribute to sports turf management, such as fertilizer applications and mowing."
"Now, for the first time, we can quantify the total environmental impact of a natural turf sports pitch. As a result, we can take a fresh look at every aspect of its management. It also gives innovators, manufacturers and turf managers the opportunity to focus on technologies, products and turf management practices which will bring us closer to being a carbon neutral industry."
Everris is part of the ICL Group. The company supplies a wide range of professional fertilizers, plant protection products, grass seed blends and specialised products to turf managers around the world through a network of distributors.
The research findings can be view here: (link to http://www.everris.com/uk/Home/About-Everris/Latest-News/News.aspx/2013/05/14/Environmental-impact-of-natural-turf-sports-pitches-mapped-by-new-research-project)