Two years ago, Sport Group, a leading global supplier of sport surfaces, and its subsidiary Polytan, the leading installer of artificial grass in Germany, announced plans to build a recycling plant that would be able to recycle almost all the different types of artificial turf systems installed to date, instead of only pitches installed by Polytan. The plant would be operated by FormaTurf, a new company established by Sport Group for this purpose.
FormaTurf opens first artificial turf recycling plant in Germany
Now, after two years of construction, FormaTurf announced last week that the new plant has been officially opened. The festive opening event took place in Essen and was attended by among others, the mayor of Essen, Thomas Kufen, and the head of the department for the Circular Economy, Cornelius Laaser. Sport Group Holding was represented by Christoph von Nitzsch (CEO) and Dr. Klaus Hauschulte (COO).
The new plant spans an area of 20,000 square meters In terms of capacity, FormaTurf plans to process 200 large pitches per year.
The technology used by FormaTurf enables almost 100 percent of a discarded artificial turf pitch - turf carpet, sand and rubber granulate - to be separated and recycled. Mechanical and chemical recycling is used to process the waste materials into secondary raw materials. Sand accounts for around 70% of the weight of an artificial surface, so as much sand and infill as possible needs to be separated from the turf backing and filaments during the initial stage. The turf backing, including filaments, is shredded into millimetre-sized pieces and mixed with the separated infill material, a patented process called ‘aptrusion’ that allows for a sand content of up to 75%.
The FormaTurf facility is the first recycling plant dedicated to recycling artificial pitches in Germany, the company emphasised. And with FormaTurf now in operation, Sport Group is the only company in the industry to cover the entire artificial turf value chain - from research, development and production to installation, maintenance and recycling by FormaTurf, thus effectively closing the loop.
Traceability is ensured all throughout, from the customer to the recycling process by means of continuous QR code tracking, allowing customers to track where the materials in their pitches end up.