Most people know that synthetic turf will save you a ton of money when it comes to watering and maintenance. But there are a number of downsides to the real stuff that people often overlook. If you live in the southwestern United States you have probably experienced water rationing. Almost everywhere in Southern California, there are strict water schedules and even rewards for turning your neighbors in for watering on days they are not supposed to. A recent article in Sunset Magazine shows that resident of Denver, Colorado use 55% of all water on landscaping alone. Noting the enormous expenditure, it seems clear that water rationing won’t stop any time soon, unless, that is, a biblical flood drenches the entirety of the Southwest.
But is grass bad for the environment? The answer is that the grass itself isn’t bad for the environment, but the gas powered mowers and leaf blowers sure are. In fact, the gas powered push mowers spew 11 times to amount of pollution in to the environment than the average car. Few people use the manual push mowers anymore. Aside from the environmental impact of mowers, pesticide and herbicide use can have long lasting effects on the earth. Leeching in to the subsurface, these chemicals can pollute groundwater which in turn can harm wildlife and plant life.
But what about synthetic turf? Doesn’t it have environmental drawbacks too? Some people claim that there has not been enough studies of the crumb rubber infill to determine if it leaks heavy metals over time. Even though a recent study conducted by the University of Connecticut shows that the black rubber is non-toxic some people still have questions. The best part about synthetic infill is that the black rubber is no longer the only choice available. Products like durafill and flexsand are perfectly healthy synthetic alternatives, both are non-toxic and neither derives from recycled tires. Moreover, some companies now manufacture organic infill specifically for synthetic turf consisting of a blend of cork and coconut husks.
If you’re looking to xeriscape your yard, turning it in to an environmentally friendly environment, turning to synthetic turf is a smart idea.