ESTC pledges support for sustainable infill drive

Posted on 22 Feb 2024 by The Manufacturer

The EMEA Synthetic Turf Council (ESTC) has pledged its support for sustainable alternatives to granular rubber infill as the synthetic turf industry embraces the EU restrictions set to be imposed on the product category.

With a number of manufacturers having developed a variety of alternatives to the commonly-used end-of-life tyre granulate (ELT) infill, the synthetic turf industry is prepared to continue its phased introduction of more sustainable alternatives. This will see a growing number promote the benefits of bio-sourced infill, as well as infill made from recycled materials, to customers and end users.

A number of natural infills are available on today’s market, ranging from cork, processed olive stones, and wood chip.

The commitment reinforces the European Commission’s decision to impose restrictions on intentionally added microplastics including synthetic and recycled infill such as ELT rubber.

The new rules under the EU chemical legislation, REACH, will see those types of infill prohibited for sale from 2031 following an eight-year transitional period as it looks to reduce the volume of microplastics released into the environment from multiple product categories including cosmetics, detergents and medical devices.

The pledge from ESTC follows its recent announcement that it is close to finalising a new set of Category Rules (CR) under the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. Once implemented, the rules will enable specifiers and buyers to better identify the manufacturers, installers, maintenance specialists and recycling facilities operating in the most sustainable manner.

Professor Alastair Cox, Technical Director at ESTC said: “Sustainable infills, as well as non-infill turf systems, have been available to buy for a number of years now, but we recognise the need to educate the marketplace on how important it is to look beyond the price of infill and consider environmental impact in order to establish these as the preferred options. Although the complete ban on the sale of SBR infills is still years away, we will be working with our members to raise the profile of more sustainable alternatives to ensure the market continues its transition as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

“It is important to note that the European Commission’s decision is based on the environmental credentials of SBR infill and is not due to any proven negative health risks posed by the material. More than 100 studies have been undertaken since the late 1990s, with all validating the safety of synthetic turf with an SBR infill.

“Like many other sectors, our industry is on a journey towards a more widespread adoption of products and processes which minimise environmental impact. We have a firm commitment to achieving this goal and will be supporting both our members and their customers to pave the way to a more sustainable future.”

For more information on ESTC, visit

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