Is Artificial Grass Bad For the Environment?
Artificial grass is easy to maintain. For one, you don’t need to mow your lawn at all. It also doesn’t house bugs and other pests that come around natural grass on occasion.
Let’s not forget how realistic it also looks. In fact, you wouldn’t know my artificial grass isn’t real if I didn’t tell you.
Well, those are enough reasons to hop on the artificial grass trend. However, if you’re environmentally conscious, you may wonder if this innovation has any effect on the environment.
In this article, we will see if artificial grass is bad for the environment and we’ll also deal with every environmentally friendly question you have about artificial grass. So please, sit back and enjoy!
- What is Artificial Grass Made of?
- Is Fake Grass Bad For the Environment?
- Why is Fake Grass Bad For the Environment?
- Is Artificial Grass Bad For Wildlife?
- 5 Environmental Benefits of Using Artificial Grass
What is Artificial Grass Made of?
Artificial grass sure feels and looks natural. It has so many endearing features that have made it a billion-dollar project in a short period. However, we need to examine what it’s made of to determine if it’s good for the environment.
Artificial grass dates as far back as the 60s, but it was very uncommon back then. It was made from several chemical components and was called ChemGrass.
But of course, technology has dramatically evolved since then, and there are newer and more natural methods of creating artificial grass. So before we go into what manufacturers use for artificial grass, you need to know a few of its characteristics.
The grass is resistant to UV rays, which protects the green color and prevents it from fading. It’s also highly resistant to abrasion and wear and tear, making it suitable for sports centers, fields, outdoor settings and even homes.
Now that you know just how solid artificial grass is, you’ll understand why it needs the materials that go into its creation. They include nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene.
All these materials are made from plastic, which essentially isn’t good for the environment, and we’ll discuss it further in subsequent sections.
Is Fake Grass Bad For the Environment?
While fake grass sure has several benefits, it isn’t good for the environment. Artificial grass leaves behind certain effects that could be detrimental to the environment in centuries to come.
Fake grass is made from plastic, and this material isn’t particularly good for the environment. You see, artificial grass has a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years, and you’ll eventually have to dispose of it.
You can’t recycle it because technology has no provisions for that yet, so it’ll end up in a landfill. In addition, it’s not biodegradable and requires hundreds of years to get broken down into tiny pieces. Instead of the usual microorganisms breaking it down, factors like extreme weather conditions and wear and tear will make decomposition possible.
Even when this happens, the leftovers never go away. They’ll always remain a part of the environment. The degradation process isn’t great for the environment either – it causes a release of toxins into the atmosphere and soil and can pollute these two entities.
Plastic has a rigorous production process that consumes fuel and releases toxic waste into the atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer. Waste disposal is another issue; since most waste from plastic production will be chemicals, the chemicals can further pollute the environment if they aren’t disposed of properly.
Why is Fake Grass Bad For the Environment?
Fake grass is fast increasing in demand because it’s easy to maintain and aesthetically appealing. However, it’s terrible for the environment because of its manufacturing process and production materials.
Let’s start with the creatures that depend on grass for their existence. We’re certain you know that bugs, worms and microscopic creatures rely on the soil and grass for their survival. They see it as a home and a food source, and when you take that away, you reduce their access to these necessities.
We need microscopic creatures to break down biodegradable materials, and when these creatures can’t find a home, they begin to die off slowly. While this may have little to no effects on the environment just yet, we’ll start to feel the impact in a couple of centuries.
Now, artificial grass is placed on sand, and this prevents the growth of natural grass. But, of course, we need trees and grasses in abundance in the environment to help replenish the depleting ozone layer. So, when we replace natural grass with the synthetic version, that defeats the purpose.
For artificial grass to remain comfortably on land, we must place it on sand rather than soil. Replacing sand with soil causes some of the Co2 to be released into the atmosphere.
We also need to discuss the issue of microplastics. Did you know that microplastics are found virtually everywhere now? You can find it in food, water, and even the air.
Like we mentioned earlier, artificial grass is made majorly from plastics. Therefore, heavy foot traffic can cause the grass to begin to shed, and the littlest plastics can attach themselves to our feet and get dispersed everywhere due to this.
Of course, everyone knows the production process for plastics is terrible for the environment. It requires long and rigorous production stages, and each one consumes a high amount of energy and subsequently releases fumes into the atmosphere. These fumes are harmful to the ozone layer and also cause air pollution.
The chemical waste, on the other hand, if not disposed of properly, can lead to environmental pollution. In addition, the waste can end up on the soil or in our water bodies, which can harm marine creatures.
While artificial grass may be bad for the environment, it still has a couple of redeeming features. For one, it doesn’t need pesticides or insecticides for pest and insect control.
You also don’t need to mow it, thereby reducing your consumption of fuel. Since artificial grass doesn’t need to be watered, you’ll also reduce your water consumption, which is advantageous to the environment.
Is Artificial Grass Bad For Wildlife?
Some of the things that make summertime memorable for us are birds chirping happily, butterflies fluttering their beautiful wings, bees buzzing, ants building homes for themselves and other fascinating creatures in action.
Now, wildlife like butterflies, bees and other insects rely on natural grass for their survival. They feed and live in grass, and when you take that away, you take away their home too. Take earthworms, for instance; they live in the soil. Installing fake grass in your home entails eliminating all the wildlife in your yard.
You’ll have to replace the soil with sand, and worms cannot live in it because of the relative lack of moisture. Additionally, you’ll be covering up the ground, thereby cutting off oxygen and necessary moisture.
Soon, these essential food chain members will begin to migrate and subsequently start to deplete too. Wildlife can sense the difference between real and fake grass, and when you install one in your home, you drive away these creatures.
5 Environmental Benefits of Using Artificial Grass
Despite the seemingly numerous downsides to installing artificial grass, it still poses several benefits to the environment.
1. Eliminates the Need for Insecticides and Fertilizers
For one, artificial grass reduces the need for fertilizers and insecticides. Fertilizers are ideally for gardens; they help plants grow. But recently, we have used them to control the growth of our lawns. It helps our grasses thrive and at a controllable rate. However, there’s a downside to this.
You see, most fertilizers have cheat sheets to help your plants grow faster and better. These fertilizers are inorganic and have chemical components in them. While they fulfill their primary purpose, they can negatively affect the soil and even your crops.
These inorganic fertilizers can release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. On the other hand, insecticides are pure chemicals that we use to eliminate bugs on our lawns. But, of course, these chemicals are harmful to man and the environment, and using fake grass eliminates our need for it.
2. No Need for Herbicides
Herbicides are another downside to growing a natural lawn. They contain chemicals that are not only bad for the environment but also damage the soil. Herbicides get the job done alright, but they leave adverse effects on the environment in the long run.
When we also consider the manufacturing process for herbicides, the environment is better off without them. They require chemicals for their production, and not only will the process consume energy, but it’ll also result in the exposure of the atmosphere to the fumes from these toxic gases. As such, fake grass trumps natural grass in this aspect – it doesn’t require herbicides because there won’t be bugs in your grass.
3. Eliminates Air Pollution
Lawn maintenance entails choosing herbicides or a lawnmower. Most people opt for the latter because it gets the job done and leaves your lawn looking well-trimmed and presentable.
Mowing your lawn leads to increased consumption of energy. This is because you’ll be burning fuel to power the machine while releasing the burnt fuel into the atmosphere in the form of toxic gases. But, of course, it doesn’t have an immediate effect, and you may consider it to be in a small amount.
However, when all these gases are combined, they deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
4. Conserves Water
Water is a resource we seem to have in abundance. However, we can still run out of usable water if we aren’t cautious enough. That’s why there are water fines and suggested limits on our consumption of it.
When you use artificial grass, you’ll not need to water it in the summer. Well, aside from the occasional sprinkle of water to cook it down, fake grass doesn’t require a regular water supply to keep the ground moist and the grass from dying or changing its color. You’ll also cut back on the amount you pay for water.
5. Reduction in Landfill Materials
Did you know that lawn clippings contribute a significant amount of waste in landfills? Well, this isn’t a problem because it’s biodegradable. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that these clippings take up a significant amount of space for a period before they eventually break down.
Alternatively, fake grass can last as long as twenty years if you maintain it well. It’s also sometimes made from recycled plastic, which means you can assuage your guilt of contributing to plastic consumption. In fact, in this regard, fake grass may make plastic disposal more environmentally friendly and certainly more manageable.
There are many reasons you’d want artificial grass in your home. First, it provides an appealing view without requiring major maintenance. Second, the color hardly ever fades too, and you’ll have a significant reduction in the bugs around your home.
However, we also need to acknowledge that fake grass has several downsides, just as it’s beneficial. We have adequately dealt with these issues in this blog post. So please, read up and take environmentally conscious decisions.