New program launched to recycle synthetic turf
TenCate Grass, ExxonMobil and Cyclyx are working on a pilot program to reclaim end-of-life polyethylene artificial turf.
In what’s said to be a first in the U.S., synthetic turf maker TenCate Grass is partnering with ExxonMobil and feedstock management company Cyclyx International to develop a pilot program to reclaim aging polyethylene artificial turf through chemical recycling and put the material back into new turf and other programs.
Known as TenCate Turf Recycling Solutions, the program aims to solve a problem that has challenged the industry for years: how to efficiently and effectively recycle synthetic turf into feedstock that can be used to create new turf and other valuable products.
The program will start by processing 50 aged turf fields from high schools and college campuses, including one from Stanford University. The end-of-life turf will be shipped to a Southern California facility where it will be shredded and then delivered from California to Texas, where Cyclyx will further pre-process it before sending the turf to ExxonMobil’s Baytown advanced recycling facility. With ExxonMobil’s proprietary Exxten technology, the end-of-life turf will be broken down into raw materials that can be used to make new products that are no different in quality and performance than those made from virgin raw materials. In addition to strengthening the circularity of plastics, ExxonMobil says that it has found that its advanced recycling technology does so while delivering lower relative greenhouse gas emissions when compared to processing the same amount of fossil-based feedstocks.
“Our advanced recycling technology has already processed millions of pounds of otherwise difficult to recycle plastics, like food packaging and artificial turf, that are generally not recycled today,” said Dave Andrew, vice president of new market development at ExxonMobil. “With our scalable technology and collaborations like this one alongside TenCate Grass and Cyclyx, we are helping to meet the growing demand for circular products.”
The program with ExxonMobil and Cyclyx builds on TenCate’s efforts to recycle synthetic turf. In its home base of the Netherlands, TenCate recycles its end-of-life turf into Ecocept, an elastic layer for sports fields. Third parties also use the agglomerated material to manufacture new products.
After the initial phase is complete, TenCate plans to expand the initiative across the U.S.