Artificial turf recycling and removal costs for a sports field

Artificial turf recycling
Artificial turf field recycling: What costs do clubs have to calculate?

The costs for artificial turf field recycling depend on the size of the field and on which components (elastic base layer, infill granulate, etc.) can be reused, and which have to be disposed of properly. The costs for labor, removal and disposing of the old artificial infill surface are more or less between $60,000 – $100,000 for a 72,000 sf sports field. 

There are additional costs for breaking down the artificial turf and separating the infill granulate and sand. If the elastic base layer cannot be reused, it will impart more costs for removal and disposal. 

With an eye to conserving resources, facility owners and sports construction companies should make every effort to reuse a large proportion of the artificial turf system to the economic cycle. What remains after that will be disposed of or incinerated.

Table of Contents

Artificial turf removal, clearance and recycling

  1. Planning: A detailed site plan and timeline are necessary for efficiently deconstructing an out-of-service turf pitch. If contractors are involved in the process, precise planning and professional site management are essential.
  2. Removing the old system: The actual work of deconstruction begins with removing the turf and separating the turf from the infill granules and sand.. The artificial turf, infill granules and sand must be removed and separated from each other.
  3. Transporting and disposing of waste material: Now that the turf system is removed, the last task is recycling what you can and disposing of the rest. Sports field contractors and specialized turf deconstruction companies will handle this step via their network of providers.

Life cycle and service life of an artificial turf field

The lifespan of an artificial turf pitch is usually 8 – 10 years. The potential to reuse components of the old field  varies depending on the use (the sport played, frequency of play, weather conditions, etc), product quality and maintenance of the turf over its life. In some cases, the pitch is barely playable after only 6 years and the turf system needs to be replaced. With professional care the appropriate equipment and a high product quality, an artificial turf pitch can be used for training and games for up to 10 – 12 years.

Artificial turf field recycling: recycling the elastic base layer

The elastic base layer and the substructure of the sports field play crucial roles in whether you can recycle parts of the artificial turf field. The life of the elastic layer is rated as two to three times that of the artificial turf. In most cases, however, the elastic base layer must also be repaired before you can begin installing new turf.

artificial turf sports field recycling

New artificial turf for the sports field

Removing the old system and installing the new one should be smoothly coordinated. Deconstruction should be completed as soon as possible so the installation of the new turf can be started with minimal delay, therefore minimizing the amount of time your field is out of service.  

The deconstruction normally takes between two to four working days. After that, the crew begins rehabilitating the elastic base layer and lays the artificial turf tracks. 

Read our dedicated article to learn more about artificial turf field costs, including the installation of the sports turf system and all associated work. The overall project cost can be calculated using the artificial turf cost calculator.

Recycling and reuse of out-of-service artificial turf systems

Some manufacturers offer new forms of artificial turf field recycling. Here, the old artificial turf is not thrown out, but is re-installed on a secondary or training field. 

Special machines are used to dismantle the old artificial turf, separate the infill granules and sand, and disinfect the individual components. The artificial turf strips are rolled up with or without infill granulate and laid again at the new location. 

This form of recycling is ideal, for example, for clubs that want to equip a training or recreational field with an artificial turf surface that does not have to meet the requirements of regular training and competition. 

According to the manufacturer, it is possible to remove the old artificial turf and install it on a new pitch within one week.

Regular artificial turf maintenance: costs for care, maintenance and restoration

To keep all these costs as low as possible, professional sports field maintenance is recommended above all else. 

Maintenance costs are divided into the permanent care and maintenance, and intensive cleaning. These tasks can be carried out by the facility’s in-house staff using specialized turf maintenance equipment; or by a company specializing in sports field maintenance. 

The cost of artificial turf maintenance and the associated equipment can be calculated using the cost calculators.

Without regular care and maintenance, damage to the pitch will be its undoing sooner than the club and, above all, the  players would like. As is often the case, the more often the field  is used, the more you should invest in maintenance and ongoing upkeep of the turf system.