Oceanographer/Ph.D. warns "choosing synthetic turf is choosing to increase GHG emissions, just as we are working so hard to reverse that"

Ph.D. Sarah-Jeanne Royer of University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography urges prohibiting the use of synthetic turf in playgrounds and athletic field surfaces.

Because synthetic turfs are made out of polyethylene, they are responsible for emitting methane, CO2, and other greenhouse gases.  They are therefore potentially contributing to climate change.

"Synthetic turf has a huge surface area --much larger than the size of the field-- because of all the small plastic “blades” in this large carpet of fake grass."  This huge surface area emits much higher amounts of greenhouse gases than a flat sheet of polyethylene.

As the surface area of plastic continues to increase due to weathering and break-down, there is a tremendous increase in off-gassing of methane.  "For example, [polyethylene] powders off-gas methane 488 times more than when the same weight of [polyethylene] is in pellet form." 

"While the negative effects of plastic in the oceans are significant, the greenhouse gases emitted from plastics exposed to air in a terrestrial environment [are] even greater."  TWICE as much methane is produced by polyethylene on land compared to polyethylene in the ocean!  And methane is 21 times more powerful than CO2.