BRUSSELS—Industry groups have expressed dismay at a European Commission draft proposal to ban the sale of infill materials classified as "intentionally added microplastics" in synthetic turf.
According to an EC document, the Commission will meet on Sept. 23 to adopt a draft proposal to restrict the sale of the infill materials, which are smaller than 5 millimeters in size.
The move would effectively prevent the use of granular infill materials from end-of-life tires and other rubber recyclate in new synthetic pitch surfacing—after a six-year market-transition period.
The proposed legislation does not require any retrospective actions to be undertaken to current sports fields employing rubber infill materials.
The EC decision is based on a controversial 2020 recommendation by the European Chemical Agency's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC), which called for a ban on all "microplastics" infills due to possible release to the environment.
However, the European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA) believes that the Brussels regulators have based their decision on "wrong data" provided by the RAC.
"ECHA's consultation estimated an average release of 500 kg per year from each of 32,000 full size pitches installed, making the total estimation of the annual release equal to 16,000 (metric tons)," said ETRA in a Sept. 5 statement to European Rubber Journal.
"This data is wrong and overestimated, and we fully contest it," the tire recycling industry body said.