10 reasons why fake lawns are not good for the environment

This can be a difficult subject area, as many clients still wish to install it because it is so aesthetically pleasing. However, in truth, fake grass is bad for the environment. We don’t want to make people feel bad for choosing astro turf but help people to be more mindful when choosing this option.

Here are 10 things to be mindful of when going for a fake lawn;

1) Artificial turf uses huge volumes of plastic

For example, one little urban garden measuring around 35 square metres using artificial grass, would be about 24.85kg of plastic! Plastic emits toxic gases into the atmosphere which is harmful to the planet and to human health.


2) Plastic grass can’t or won’t be recycled

Astro turf is made from a variety of human made unnatural materials including polyethylene, polypropylene and nylon. While individually these components can theoretically be recycled, in reality this isn’t happening for fake lawns for the following reasons. First, the materials are often bound together making it impossible to separate them and therefore making it impossible to recycle, because recycling of the materials requires them to be separated and pure. You also can’t recycle plastics with contaminants in like soil and grit and they need to be clean to be recycled which is impossible after the amount of debris they collect over the years.

3) Pieces of plastic grass will pollute soils for centuries

The pieces of plastic lawn break down and contaminate our soils for centuries regardless of being recycled. With the best will in the world, individual blades of fake grass tear off and blow into planting areas or bare soil nearby.


4) Astro turf has a big carbon foot print from manufacture, transport and installation

The processes involved in mixing, colouring and moulding all of the plastic releases carbon. In addition, further carbon is released from the energy used (i.e. from electricity production). Then you have to factor the carbon released from transporting these heavy rolls by lorry from the manufacturing plant to the customer, probably being first transported to a storage facility.

5) Fake lawns look awful after only a few years

This gives them a very short shelf life in comparison to other hard landscaping products. Despite manufacturers claiming they last for 10 – 20 years (which is still a short a life span for outdoor surfaces) in reality the pieces of plastic grass blades become worn down and squashed in the same way as carpets, although obviously, the plastic is tougher for outdoor and rougher use.

6) Astro turf kills soil life beneath it

By creating a dense plastic barrier on top of compacted soil and sand, no garden material can reach the soil beneath it. Things like leaf litter and grass clippings, which may be in tiny amounts in a normal garden after mowing and tidying but still exist. Natural materials like this are essential for feeding soil organisms like worms and microscopic animals that keep soil healthy.

7) Plastic deprives people from contact with a natural surface

Installing plastic grass, deprives people from the natural element of real grass. Some of your favourite childhood memories will be from sitting on a soft lawn, hands on the grass, plucking a blade of grass to whistle with, or a daisy or dandelion flower, or a plantain leaf. That sense of touch and the smell of mown grass is such an important part of life experience.

8) Fake lawns have no wildlife benefit whatsoever

Even a perfectly kept lawn with no weeds has a base layer of wildlife value because it’s a good home to millions of soil dwelling critters, most so microscopic we can’t see them. Worms, grubs and grass eating caterpillars, slugs and snails all feed birds too. Forgetting the need for that perfect lawn, a lawn with daisies and other weeds go up in wildlife value.

9) Plastic lawns can overheat in summer making them unusable

Plastic lawns retain heat from the sun more than a natural lawn, in some instances this can make them so hot that you can’t walk on them.

10) Fake lawns need cleaning and maintaining

As an unnatural surface that doesn’t recycle germs, dirt and other debris as a natural lawn would, you need to clean it. This includes brushing, washing and quite often, hoovering! Maintenance of a real lawn is actually cheaper!

We are committed to building beautiful gardens that improve peoples lives. If you would like to talk to us about how we could create your dream garden, please contact us at info@outlookgardens.com

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