Football Trade Directory

Wembley develop process to recycle their pitch

Wembley Stadium hopes to set a sustainability example for other sporting venues by developing what it claims is a unique process to make its pitch 100% recyclable.

The project, which is believed to be a first in the world of football, is the result of a two-year plan to find a suitable solution to recycling modern-day football pitches, which are a hybrid of grass and synthetic plastic.

Wembley Stadium operates a hybrid carpet lay and play pitch surface system, with a large number of professional playing surfaces in today’s game containing plastic to make them more durable. Hybrid pitches have become popular because they offer increased reliability in variable weather and can be used more for multiple purposes.

However, the recycling of old hybrid pitches has been a challenge. The plastic contained within the hybrid pitch means they do not break down naturally, and the majority of old pitches are sent to waste landfill sites at the end of their life-cycle.

The team at Wembley Stadium have come up with a process which means the plastic can be extracted from the pitch and repurposed. In a first of its kind, they have created a bench, made entirely out of plastic from a used pitch, which will be placed within the stadium footprint in memory of a stadium employee who passed away last year.

Karl Standley, grounds manager at Wembley Stadium, said: “Extracting the plastic from a hybrid pitch is notoriously difficult, due to its compound and structure. When we first mooted the idea of recycling it, we were told it couldn’t be done. However, we were determined to find a sustainable answer to the problem.

“It’s been a long journey, testing and re-testing, but we have finally come up with a solution we are happy with. Creating something from a pitch that has had world class players perform on it is the ultimate memento. I am excited about what else we can possibly create in the future.”

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