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Creating Artificial Turf (AT) Yarns with New Recycling Technologies for Circular Economy

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CREATE (Creating Artificial Turf (AT) Yarns with New Recycling Technologies for Circular Economy)

Reporting period: 2020-10-01 to 2021-09-30

Re-Match was founded with the ambition of setting a new patented global standard in recycling artificial turf (AT). We are devoted to our mission in making it possible to protect the environment, hence Re-Match aims to develop a sustainable, transparent, proven solution, promoting a full circular economy based on the upcycling of every AT component.
To achieve a complete, circular cycle of used ATs, Re-Match has developed a ground-breaking process combining state-of-the-art technologies, adding the missing link to complete the upcycling of the plastic component. Re-Match is already capable of separating used ATs into sand, rubber and plastic (the first two are already efficiently recycled). Now, by dissolving the high-quality clean plastic material into a new resin, we will generate new turf yarns of similar quality to the originals, to be applied into new ATs, significantly reducing the waste derived from ATs and decreasing their environmental footprint.
This game changing process offers a cradle-to-cradle solution and a fully circular economy model for every AT component. As the need of AT demand and disposal has steadily increased, following an average annual growth of 16.6% between 2015 and 2017, and the sports segment is the most sought after, Re-Match aims to capture the new trends related to green and sustainable processes.
As the team has grown, we have strengthened the process development and initiated the setup manufacturing capabilities, achieving several technological and commercial milestones. This project will strengthen Re-Match as it fits perfectly with our current strategy, while accelerating the pace which, in a 5-year term (2022-2027), will allow the expansion of the full business.
In the long term, Re-Match will target the delivery of the plastic components also to other applications, hence establishing a brand-new standard for plastic use and end-purpose.
During the first 12 months of the CREATE project, Re-Match has achieved multiple results within the CREATE project. The first main objective is to create a polyolefin out of the polyolefin fraction from the Re-Match Herning site which can be used to produce Artificial Grass yarns. A study to determine the starting point is done. Procedures to determine the polyolefin fraction at the Herning site, is made. The corresponding paperwork is developed, quality procedures and testing methods are determined. The procedures are implemented in the company.
Reducing the contamination in the fibre fraction is vital to applying the CreaSolv process successfully. In order to reduce the contamination in the fibre fraction, The Herning Plant installed new machinery. The results have been monitored and there are ongoing activities to improve the performance. During this project we have been able to reduce the contamination of the fibres to a third, which was better than expected.
The second main objective of the project has been to determine the product specification based on PE using the CreaSolv process where input and output can be compared. The product has been collected and determined. It has been processed at the Fraunhofer Institute in September. The outcome looked promising and is still being analyzed.
In the second half of the CREATE project Re-Match expect to successfully produce Artificial grass yarns out of recycled polyolefin fraction from the Herning plant. After a successful production of Artificial Turf using recycled polyolefin fractions, Re-Match will measure and validate the Artificial Turf characteristics up against Artificial Turf produced using virgin materials. Discussions with projects in Berlin and Amsterdam is ongoing.
Alongside production of recycled Artificial Turf, continuous improvement activities at the Herning plant will carry on, in order to bring the contamination rate down to a minimum – this is important in order to maximize the output of the CreaSolv process, which is essential to make the solution economical reliable.
In terms of certification, Re-Match has already been granted ISO14034, ISO9001 and EuCertPlast. Furthermore, Re-Match expect to receive the ISO14001 certificate by end of 2021.
In recent years, the circular economy has gained increasing prominence as a tool which presents solutions to some of the world´s most pressing cross-cutting sustainable development (SD) challenges. By addressing root causes, the concept of Re-Match´s circular economy - an economy in which plastic waste and pollution do not exist by design while materials are kept in use and natural systems preserved – provides a ground-breaking approach within the AT upcycling segment, further accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD. Moreover, our circular model for ATs holds particular promise for achieving multiple SD goals (SDG), including SDGs on economic growth and sustainable consumption and production.
A study performed by Re-Match and supported by an external consultant in 3 fields, concluded that Re-Match’s CO2 footprint would be only 4.1% of the combined emission from thermal treatment and production of new materials, while ultimately financially saving up to 25% to incineration and 20% to landfills. This results in a much lower environmental burden than traditional AT, with less overall costs (materials + installation + maintenance + disposal) for users.
Due to negative environmental impact of original AT pitches, environmental organizations have suggested a ban of AT pitches. At Re-Match, we also see it as our duty to ensure that future generations can have the possibility to play sport activities at AT pitches, without harming the planet.
Promotion of the CREATE project via Re-Match's website