[No. 02] Middletown, New Jersey: Town plans to dispose of old turf in garbage.According to a report in The Independent (October 2, 2008), the turf field at Middletown High School North “is currently being cut up, and the only place the turf would go … into the garbage.” “The turf is going to dumpsters,” said Board of Education Attorney Christopher Parton. According to Parton, the contractor cuts the field into a checkerboard and remove the square panels. “Our original plan was to roll it up and do whatever,” he said. When the contractor has been directed to remove the turf, it “tried a theory of vacuuming all of the ambient rubber out and rolling up the turf; that did not work,” said Parton. The removal of he field is being necessitated because the first installer, Mondo USA’s failed to come back and fix work done on the field. Source: Jamir Romm, “Turft hits the curb at H.S. North,” in The Independent (Freehold, New Jersey), October 2, 2008, available at t is http://independent.gmnews.com/news/2008/1002/front_page/009.html .
[No. 01] Where do dead turf fields go?SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. October 3, 2008. In Massachusetts and many other states, used tires are handled as hazardous waste, subject to special handling by the municipal and state solid waste management system. No used tire is supposed to end up in regular garbage. Here, as in many other parts of the country, an enlightened citizenry supposed to spare the landfills of plastics and other non-biodegradable items that can be recycled.
Most artificial turf fields in the United States contains 100 tons of crumb rubber, most of which is made of used tires – 22,000 used tires are processed to yield 100 tons of crumb rubber. The carpet itself and the geo-textile that supports it are made of a variety of plastics and nylons. Then why is it that the turf industry and municipal, state and federal authorities are looking the other way when hundreds of tons crumb rubber – with all of its toxic substances – and thousands upon thousands of square yards of artificial turf carpets are being disposed off in our nation’s regular landfills?
In five to six years, when the currently in-use artificial turf fields are due to be replaced, the disposal of old fields and its toxic infill will swamp our landfills in a volume that, under current handling procedures, will overwhelm the solid waste management system. The current disposal of artificial turf fields and rubber infill is fraught with environmental and health hazards. One can only imagine the potential for harm when thousands of fields are ripped out and taken to landfills, from which the leachate, particulates and off-gassedharmful substances can make its way into soil, air and water.
The time for regulating the environmentally-safe disposal of artificial turf, or its recycling, is now. Six years from now, it will be too late.