There is a potential risk that application of <5mm crumb rubber infill in artificial sports surfaces like synthetic turf will be banned due to an ongoing probe by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This claim was reinforced by CEO at the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA).

The potential ban may negatively impact tire recycling’s commercial segment given that significant amount of crumb rubber recovered from old tires is used to produce sport surfaces and rubber infill.

Once lawful, the ban would bring some 400,000 tons of crumb rubber back to the market where the product will have to find potential buyers. This would seriously harm recyclers that are committed to granulate production. Moreover, it would have a toll of the tire export value.

The ETRMA admitted that this challenge exists and its CEO believes that the industry should cooperate with the EU authorities to resolve the issue.

This comes after in 2017 ECHA concluded that sports pitches with artificial rubber posed ‘negligibly low’ threat to human health.

Press release by ECHA.