Olive stones replace rubber in French synthetic pitch

Environmentally questionable rubber infill grains replaced with ground-up eco-friendly olive stones

A synthetic football pitch on the south coast of France has become the first in the country to swap rubber infill granules for ones made of ground-up olive stones.

Synthetic turf has often been criticised for being potentially harmful to people and the environment. It usually contains rubber granules that are used as infill material and fall into the category of controversial microplastics.

The particles are not biodegradable and can be carried by wind, weather and footwear from the pitch out into the wider environment, where humans and animals absorb them.

According to European Commission estimates, tens of thousands of tons of microplastics could be released every year from the approximately 51,000 football pitches in the EU that are covered with synthetic turf.

The Bouissou stadium, at La Ciotat on the Mediterranean coast, has swapped the environmentally questionable rubber infill with crushed olive stones that are 'made in Provence' and delivered by Méditerranée Environnement

A total 60 tonnes of stones were needed for the new pitch, which opened at the beginning of the year. The company hopes to start work soon on a second synthetic surface in Pertuis in the Vaucluse.

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