Artificial turf is definitely NOT the answer.
Here are just some of the problems with plastic grass:
- WASTE. If you are replacing your lawn then for every acre of artificial turf installed you will remove about 87 tons of existing grass and topsoil which will then need to get hauled to a landfill or other secondary use site. BTW when you’re through with a synthetic lawn after it’s 8 – 12 year usable life then landfilling is most often the only disposal option and many of today’s Municipal Landfills are classifying decomposing fake turf as hazardous substances so the cost of that disposal will likely be prohibitive.
- WATER. Plastic grass needs to be cleaned periodically with water (and sometimes even with soaps and/or chemicals). Water is also the only way to cool down fake grass on hot or even warmer days.
- HEAT & ENERGY. The surface of artificial turf gets very hot on sunny days making it uncomfortable to walk on. It also heats up the surrounding air driving up air conditioner useage
and challenging local flora and fauna with exacerbated temperatures. Also the abnormal heating of it’s underlying soils and the soil around the perimeters of fake grass installs get superheated possibly harming adjacent tree and plant roots.
- BIODIVERSITY. Artificial grass creates a lifeless environment both above and below the ground. Living landscapes support a healthy diversity of plants, animals, and pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies.
- SOIL HEALTH. Fake grass covers soil with a layer of plastic, depriving the soil of life. Healthy soils in living landscapes provide life-giving eco-services including cycling nutrients, improving water quality, and supporting a thriving soil ecology of microbes, worms and insects. And if a living landscape has been depleted and left with poor quality soil it can only be brought back to life by adding organic materials with compost and mulch.
- GLOBAL WARMING. Production of artificial grass is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions. Immediately after it is installed artificial turf continues to off-gas chemicals known to be harmful to all living things. In contrast, in living landscapes, plants pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their vast rooting systems. Plants also produce our oxygen and store other harmful chemicals in the soil which is a cycle that is essential to life on Earth.
- POLLUTION. Runoff from artificial turf carries pollutants into surface water and groundwater. Living landscapes with healthy soils slow, spread and sink stormwater doing the job of absorbing and retaining water and filtering and breaking down pollutants.