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The Green Life: A Fair Playing Field

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August 10, 2009

A Fair Playing Field

Field turf There’s a growing trend among school campuses with sports teams: field turf. These faux fields are replacing conventional grass ones in high schools and colleges all over the nation. Though many remain skeptical, claiming that real athletes play on grass, many are also realizing not only the performance improvement but also the environmental advantage.

These aren’t the old carpet-like turf fields infamous for causing rug burn. From a distance, the synthetic blades of grass can easily be mistaken for the real thing. But the advantage (both environmentally and athletically) lies in the tiny black bits of rubber under the fake grass. That rubber is recycled, made of cut-up pieces of old tires, and gives players just enough bounce so as to give the feeling of improved speed, while eliminating the all-too-common patches known for busting ankles.

Not only do these fields find a useful way to dispose of useless tires, but they require virtually no maintenance once installed. The thousands of gallons of water used to water old grass fields are saved, and the need is eliminated for weekly lawn-mowing and air-polluting chalk lines.

--Joe Maguid

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