The Ugly Truth About Synthetic Lawns: Why They're Harming the Environment
The Environmental Cost of Artificial Grass: Why it's Time to Say No to Fake Lawns and Embrace Eco-Friendly Alternatives for Your Outdoor Space.
Artificial lawns are becoming increasingly popular, with many people opting to replace natural grass with synthetic ones. While synthetic lawns are easy to maintain and provide uniformity, they come with a significant environmental impact.
Synthetic turf for sports has been linked to the deaths of six professional baseball players in Philadelphia due to the use of rubber granules from recycled tires that contain heavy metals, benzene, and other carcinogens. While the plastic used for domestic and landscaping purposes is typically made from polypropylene or nylon and doesn’t contain rubber granules, it still has a detrimental effect on the environment.
The global artificial turf market, including sports and domestic use, is expected to reach $6.83 billion in 2027, but artificial lawns destroy natural habitats and soil, contribute to carbon emissions during manufacturing and transport, overheat in the summer, cause flooding, and pollute waterways with microplastics.
Moreover, synthetic lawns are neither biodegradable nor recyclable, and after their lifespan, they go into landfills where they continue to pollute. Additionally, synthetic lawns accumulate excrement and urine from animals that need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Despite the benefits of synthetic lawns, experts believe that they are not worth the environmental cost. In addition, synthetic lawns provide no habitat for invertebrates such as earthworms, which are essential food sources for birds and mammals. Wildlife populations have decreased by 69% over the past 50 years, and the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in Europe.
Several campaigns have been launched by organizations such as the Royal Horticultural Society and the Landscape Institute, urging people to say no to synthetic grass. The Chelsea Flower show has banned synthetic grass, and the UK's housing secretary Michael Gove plans to prevent developers from laying synthetic grass in new housing schemes.
However, there are alternative options that aren't made of plastic. A woodland garden can be created to serve as an exploratory playground for children, and a family garden doesn't have to be about an expanse of lawn; there are different ways to engage children outdoors. Even if you have a lawn, it doesn’t have to look like Centre Court on the opening day of Wimbledon. Accepting the seasons and the natural processes that occur in a garden can help reduce the pressure to control every aspect of a garden’s appearance.
In conclusion, the environmental cost of synthetic grass outweighs its benefits. Natural lawns provide essential habitats for invertebrates, support wildlife, mitigate flooding, and absorb CO2, unlike synthetic lawns. Therefore, it's time to say no to synthetic grass and find alternative ways to create a beautiful and environmentally friendly outdoor space.
How do you feel about synthetic lawns? Let us know in a comment below. We appreciate your honest answer!