Artificial grass has come a very long way from its United States origin in the 1960’s. Originally developed for the Astrodome stadium in Houston, Texas (and now you know where the term ‘AstroTurf’ comes from) and made of nylon, it was only in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s that the polyethylene based artificial grass, similar to what we see today, made an appearance.
Thanks to the rapid advances in materials, design and technology, artificial grass today, mimics natural grass and has in many ways, proven a highly viable, environmentally friendly alternative to the real thing.
But artificial grass is plastic!
Polyethylene terephthalate is the plastic used most in the production of artificial lawn. A plastic resin and a form of polyester made from only carbon and hydrogen, polyethylene is as far as plastics are concerned, considered safe. Used in many forms from food and cosmetics packaging to medical equipment, this material does not leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
What about the infill?
Artificial grass requires an infill in order to keep the pile from going flat. The specific type of infill that you need, will depend on the variety of artificial grass you have installed, as well as whether pets will be using the lawn too.
Rubber crumb infill, which is essentially a recycled material made from used vehicle tyres, has raised some serious health concerns in the past. With advances in technology however, there are many other options available that are neither dangerous for our health, and which do the job even better.
Lawn is not natural.
Beautifully manicured, rolling green lawns are very much man-made. As we know, achieving the perfect lawn requires a lot of time and effort, as well as chemicals and water.
In nature, grasses undergo a growth and renewal cycle that works in sync with the natural habitat. This cycle includes the required water retention and natural composting required for the grass to survive.
Lawn on the other hand, is often a hybrid grass that is neither indigenous, nor entirely suited to the region in which it grows and therefore needs additional water and nutrients in order to thrive. This is why lawns have often been referred to as ‘green deserts’ on account of their disproportionate reliance on natural resources.
Artificial grass is for this reason, an eco-friendly choice. It provides the look and functionality that people want, while having the least impact on the environment.
All those chemicals!
While lawn maintenance such as top dressing is a more natural way to keep lawns looking great, the perfect green lawn, requires chemical fertiliser and a range of pesticides for it to keep looking lush and vibrant all year round. These chemicals and pesticides leach into the ground and negatively impact local aquatic, insect, bird and other wildlife species.
Turf grass provides virtually no habitat for pollinators and other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecosystem, so considering this, genuine lawn costs the environment dearly in every conceivable way.
As with real lawn, a artificial lawn offers no habitat for life, however it is far less destructive to the environment. You get the colour and look you want all year round, without the chemicals, pesticides and wastage of water.
How about the environmental cost of manufacture?
When it comes to considering the eco-friendliness of anything, one must always take longevity into account. The manufacture of artificial grass, as with the manufacture of anything, does have its impact on the environment, however, considering the fact that a professionally installed and good quality artificial lawn will last up to 20 years, this is an investment with a far smaller environmental footprint over that 20-year period, than that of a genuine lawn.
For anyone wanting or needing a beautiful, lush green lawn, today’s artificial lawn options provide a healthy, environmentally responsible alternative. To get the best service from your artificial lawn, it is essential that it should be professionally installed.
With artificial grass options to suit every lawn application, we can help you whether you need a commercial, or residential installation.
Get in touch with us today, and one of our consultants will be happy to visit your premises and advise on the best artificial grass options for your particular needs.
Call us on 021 212 9898 (Cape Town) or 010 442 0400 (Johannesburg)