Friday, June 14, 2024

EU bans rubber infill in sports pitches and other microplastics

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In an effort to prevent the release of microplastics to the environment, the European Union will restrict the sale of microplastics on the internal market. A new Regulation from the EU Commission will prohibit the sale both of microplastics and of products to which they have been intentionally added and which release the plastic particles during use. The adoption of the Regulation was announced by the Commission on 25 September and the new legislation appeared in the EU Official Journal in the middle of last week. Regulation (EU) 2023/2055 will enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication, 17 October. Bans on specific product groups will go into effect after transition periods of varying lengths.

The materials affected by the new Regulation include granular material used as infill in artificial sports pitches. Much of this material comes from the recycling of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) and other rubber waste. The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) estimates that recycled rubber accounts for 80 per cent of the total infill used. The umbrella organisation had warned in a position paper in the summer of “catastrophic consequences” for tyre recycling if the ban was introduced without being accompanied by measures to create alternative markets for material derived from ELTs….

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