3 Environmental Reasons to Install Artificial Grass
Artificial grass often gets a bad rap in the media regarding environmental issues, but many people are surprised to learn that switching to fake grass can have a positive effect on the environment.
There are a whole host of benefits to be gained by installing artificial grass, but one of the main reasons for the huge increase in the popularity of fake turf is its low maintenance nature.
This appeals to many homeowners who have become tired of having to spend time and money on maintaining their lawn.
Traipsing up and down the garden, pushing the lawnmower, is not only a thankless task, but it’s time-consuming, taking precious hours of your free time that could be spent enjoying yourself. In addition, it can also be potentially damaging to the environment.
The fuels used by lawnmowers, strimmers and aerators are increasing the world’s carbon footprint.
Applying harmful toxins such as pesticides, weedkillers and fertilisers should also be a concern as they have the potential to cause harm to both humans and wildlife.
Another important benefit of artificial grass is that it contributes towards saving water as you’ll no longer need to water your lawn during the summer months.
In this latest article we’re going to be exploring some of the environmental benefits that artificial grass can bring to your garden.
1. No Harmful Chemicals
Maintaining a real lawn often requires a whole host of weedkillers, pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides.
Not only are these chemicals harmful to humans and pets, but they can be extremely damaging to the local environment.
When harsh chemicals are applied to your garden and lawn, they can potentially be absorbed into the local water table or may even find their way into local watercourses such as rivers, ponds and streams through surface water runoff.
Once harmful toxins reach the local watercourses, they can have potentially damaging effects on both animal and marine wildlife.
Excessive toxins can cause algae to overtake ponds and streams, as they can kill fish as well as vegetation.
Some studies have shown that these chemicals can cause certain types of fish and amphibians to be born without reproductive organs or have genetic defects that prohibit them from breeding or functioning efficiently.
Not only can harmful toxins cause damage to wildlife, but clearly they can have damaging effects on humans, too.
In much the same way as toxins can leak into the watercourse, chemicals can find their way into our drinking water through surface water runoff. After heavy downpours, the surface water running off your lawn or soaking through into the water table leads to harmful chemicals finding their way into the water that we use for drinking and bathing.
For further information on the damaging effects of pesticides on our environment, check out this PDF, ‘Children’s Health and the Environment’, produced by the World Health Organisation.
Artificial grass requires very little in the way of maintenance and does not need an array of harsh chemicals to ensure a lush green look all year round.
When choosing an artificial turf, however, it’s vital to choose one that does not itself contain any harmful chemicals. That would be to defeat the object of the exercise!
In recent years there has been disturbing evidence that traces of harmful chemicals have found their way into the plastic fibres of artificial grass during the manufacturing process, and these chemicals can potentially cause harm to families and pets.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to remember to choose an artificial grass that is free from harmful substances.
The only way to be sure is to check with your chosen manufacturer to ensure that their products have been independently tested and verified, and that they continue to be tested on a regular basis.
The most important certification to look for is the ‘Confidence in Textiles’ certification from Oeko-Tex .
Oeko-Tex is a worldwide organisation, independently testing and certifying raw, semi-finished and finished textile products such as artificial grass.
The standard is stringent, and to qualify for certification all the components of an item, without exception, have to pass the test. That means not only the fibres, but also the backing material, the thread used for stitching, and everything else used to manufacture the artificial grass is guaranteed to be harmless.
If a manufacturer has an Oeko-Tex certification you can be sure that their products are safe for your family, pets and the environment.
2. Reduces Carbon Emissions from Lawn Care Equipment
It’s not just chemicals that are needed to maintain real grass, but a whole host of maintenance equipment, ranging from lawnmowers to strimmers and scarifiers.
The use of these machines can increase your carbon footprint.
But what exactly is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint can be defined as:
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
One of the biggest contributors to the world’s carbon footprint is the consumption of fuels such as petrol and diesel, used to fuel the engines of vehicles and lawnmowers.
For example, for each gallon of petrol consumed, 10.4kg of carbon dioxide is emitted into the earth’s atmosphere.
So what can be done to improve our carbon footprint?
Well, a good idea is to minimise the amount of fossil fuels we consume on a daily basis. This can be done by minimising the amount of driving that we all do.
Using public transport, or even using a pushbike or walking to work, is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Walking or cycling also has the huge additional benefit of being great for your health.
As we have learnt, burning fossil fuels such as petrol increases the world’s carbon footprint. Many lawnmowers, strimmers and scarifiers require petrol to operate.
According to a study conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, it was discovered that just one hour of petrol-powered lawn mowing can produce as much pollution as four hours of driving.
This is an alarming statistic that is having a damaging effect on the environment.
To reduce your carbon footprint, you may also wish to consider having artificial grass installed as it doesn’t require any maintenance equipment, meaning you can ditch your polluting lawnmower.
Eliminating the need to mow your lawn not only has a positive impact on the environment now, it will also have welcome financial benefits in the long run and there will no longer be the need to purchase fuels and chemicals to maintain your equipment.
3. Reduces Water Consumption
Another obvious environmental benefit of artificial grass is the fact that it doesn’t require any water.
During dry months, most real lawns require large quantities of water to remain in a green, lush condition.
In the UK, during summer months, a lawn of 100m2 requires around 2 cubic metres of water per week to remain in good condition.
This excessive water consumption has a negative impact on the environment.
One of the challenges of recent times is the effect climate change is having on our water supplies. In the UK we are experiencing more frequent and severe droughts or flooding.
The damage that severe weather conditions can cause to our properties has been well documented.
But there’s not just the effect excessive water consumption can have on the environment to think about, there’s also the effect it has on your bank balance.
In recent years the cost of water has risen and according to uSwitch the average UK household spent £385 on water during 2015.
For these reasons, it’s extremely important to conserve water in order to help the environment and your finances.
For further information on how our water supplies are being affected by climate change, visit http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/
We’re not for a minute claiming that artificial grass will save the world from the potentially devastating effects of global warming.
But there are more environment benefits than you may have originally realised.
We should all be doing our bit to ensure that our planet remains the habitable place that it is now for our future generations.
For further information on how to save water in the garden you may find our previous article useful.
If you have any comments or questions, please let us know in the comments section below.