Pitch Perfectly Recycled

Published on: December 6th 2022

ACTIVE Stirling has proudly unveiled its new 11-a-side, FIFA standard, 3G football pitch and proved almost everything can be recycled these days.

The Charitable Trust hosted a launch event to celebrate the re-opening of the community facility recently and revealed a recycling first.

As part of the works, the old synthetic pitch and shock pad was recycled at the UK’s first recycling plant for end-of-life synthetic turf pitches (EOLP). The new plant, based in Grangemouth and owned by the Sportex Group, helps move the disposal of artificial pitches towards a circular economy where materials are recycled back into the industry they came from rather than contributing to landfill.

This regeneration project forms part of Active Stirling’s 2021-24 Business Plan to improve people’s lives by getting the inactive active and the active more active, more often. The pitch has played a key role in the community for the last 15 years, hosting many school, community and club activities but as confirmed by tests performed by Sport Lab, had reached the end of its viable lifespan.  The resurfacing works not only ensure the continuation of activities already underway, but also enable the extension of reach to new community groups.

Andrew Bain, CEO of Active Stirling, said: “The 3G pitch at Stirling Sporting Village plays a critical role in the community and this regeneration ensures it will continue to do so for many years to come.

“Driven through our partnership with Stirling Albion, the pitch upgrade will stimulate growth in grassroots football participation including hard to reach groups from areas of deprivation where access to quality facilities is limited. The upgrade will also extend opportunities for wider sporting participation in other sports as well as other community activity programmes.”

This project is also environmentally responsible. Using Sportex’s existing recycling technology, sand and SRB rubber from the old pitch will be reclaimed and treated through a series of unique processes to be made available to existing industry standards for re-use within future sports facility projects. With the infill removed, the old synthetic turf will be shredded, cleaned, and processed through a bespoke plastic agglomeration process to facilitate the production of ‘TREKboards’; a 100% recycled plastic kickboard product that has been installed around the perimeter of the new facility.

Jamie Blamire at Sportex, said: “ According to The UK Government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in 2018 – the last full year of data available – the UK generated more than 222 million tonnes of waste. Of this, only 48 per cent was recycled or repurposed. Through the opening of our recycling factory, we will be playing our part in enabling, wherever possible, end-of-life materials recovered from artificial turf pitches are recycled and are able to re-enter the sports facility industry in an equal or better condition than they originally did. This creates a circular economy and reduces the amount of materials being committed to landfill.”

The project in Stirling is being led by Alliance Leisure and their specialist pitch Consultant, Sports Labs.

Works began in September and completed in October. Jonny Curley,  Senior Business Development Manager, Alliance Leisure, says: “Alliance Leisure is an environmentally responsible company committed to reducing waste. Through projects like this, we are playing our part in driving a more circular economy which is good for our business, good for our partners and ultimately good for our planet.”

For more information on recycling and redeveloping FIFA standard 3G pitches visit the Alliance website here.

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