With the founding of the recycling company FormaTurf, a sister company of Polytan, the material life cycle of artificial turf systems has finally been closed. Now, in addition to research and development, sales, installation and maintenance, the company will take over the removal and complete recycling of the artificial turf, including the recycling of all its materials, i.e. the infill and the sand.


The life cycle at a glance

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graphic: Polytan GmbH

Polytan offers everything from development to recycling, all from one source

After 10 to 15 years, an artificial turf pitch has usually reached the end of its useful life. It needs to be replaced. But where does the old turf go? With its subsidiaries Polytan and FormaTurf, the Sport Group will offer an exceptionally sustainable and environmentally friendly form of recycling. What’s special about FormaTurf’s recycling process: all the materials in the artificial turf system are recycled, be it the turf itself, the back pitch or the infill.

By doing so, the Sport Group and Polytan are closing the last gap in the life cycle of an artificial turf pitch.

For decades, the company has conducted research and development on turf systems, manufactured and installed them. Even the professional maintenance is performed by Polytan. Until now, only the removal and recycling was left to certified partners. With the founding of FormaTurf, the Sport Group is entering the recycling business and will offer customers artificial turf systems with a fully traceable life cycle. Customers can also find out what products are made from the old turf and have them built into the new system.

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photo: Polytan GmbH, Sandra Schuck

A pitch at the end of its life cycle poses particular problems for its owners. The Circular Economy Act says: “The full responsibility lies with the waste producer; this means from when it reaches the waste collection point up until its final disposal. Furthermore, the manufacturer must exercise due diligence in the selection and commissioning of third parties. According to the hierarchy guidelines, recycling has priority over disposal.”

With the new recycling solution, pitch owners will not only have an extremely sustainable disposal option available to them, but a reliable partner in reducing waste. “Waste” is not an oft-uttered word at Polytan, because for the Sport Group and its subsidiaries, an old artificial turf pitch is simply a collection of raw materials that deserve a second life.

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collage: Polytan GmbH

What makes this recycling solution so special? In the future, FormaTurf, will be able to recycle a turf system, including all its components. That is, the back pitch, the filament and the infill. Initially, the artificial filler granules of the turf are separated from the sand. This is washed and can be reused on the sports field with a high degree of purity. New products, such as kerb stones, are created from the plastics, be it back pitches, blades or infill granulate, which can be used in the sports field construction sector, for example. The FormaTurf plant in Essen, which will begin trial operations by the end of this year, will elevate artificial turf recycling to a new level with this sustainable solution. The exclusive use of green energy for production goes without saying.

The Sport Group is pursuing a company strategy that is heavily based on sustainability. For example, the subsidiary Polytan has offered extremely environmentally friendly products made predominantly of renewable materials under the label “Green Technology (GT)” for several years. This sustainable philosophy led to the decision to develop an innovative, ecological recycling system for old artificial turf pitches. Implementing this will require a huge effort. In the long term, however, the company aims to preside over the entire material life cycle and offer a sustainable complete solution for old artificial turf pitches through its subsidiaries.