Artificial Grass vs. Natural Grass: Environmental Impact
The grass always plays a vital role in landscaping. The first thing you notice on any lawn is the grass. For homeowners, they choose to put in natural or artificial grass. Both the grass options have their pros and cons. However, here we will be looking more from the perspective of environmental impact.
It is worth knowing the impact of artificial grass or natural grass on the environment. As we know, the environment has a significant role in our quality of life. These types of grass can make or mar the environment in their way. Artificial grass can be good as it saves lots of water. As water remains an essential natural resource, saving it is imperative.
Artificial grass helps in saving too much water, the natural grass demands. However, the former creates lots of pollution during its manufacturing phase. Also, it is not biodegradable. On the other hand, natural grass helps the environment as it is a living thing. Also, it adds value to the ecosystem by supplying oxygen, absorbing heat and filtering pollution.
On the downside, natural grass is sprayed with pesticides and supplied with ample water. Yet, comparing it with artificial grass, it is a safer choice since fake grass has many more issues like adding heat during a hot day and collecting too many contaminants that can prove fatal for children and pets.
Hence, many believe that natural grass is a safe choice for homeowners as it is free from all concerns raised by artificial grass. Opting for organic grass management systems can help address the pests and weeds on the lawn. It is a suitable replacement for toxic insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. However, artificial grass can have fewer negative impacts on the environment, making it eco-friendly like natural grass.
What is Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass is made up of material, which is synthetic fiber carrying the man-made and synthetic fiber that you can find over the real grass. The grass blades are now available in diverse pile heights.
The construction of the grass is similar to the way carpet is made. It comes up with solid backing, and the blades come up with machine stitches.
The artificial grass also comes up with brown thatch, which resembles the dead grass look seen in any natural grass lawn. As technology is growing faster, we see too many developments taking place in artificial grass manufacturing. All these enhancements help make the look and feel of the artificial grass look more realistic.
The first time we saw the grass was in the mid-sixties when it was installed in an indoor stadium in the US when the management wanted to get rid of the bad field conditions by installing fake grass. These are primarily used for sports and recreation purposes. Today, homeowners have started installing artificial grass on their lawns as it offers too many benefits, including low maintenance.
What are the positive impacts of artificial grass to the environment?
There are several reasons why artificial grass is a better choice. These are simple to maintain. You do not need to mow yourself when you have installed artificial grass in your yard. It is free from pests and bugs that are found around the natural grass. The realistic look it adds to the floor also makes a big difference.
At times, you may find the artificial grass to appear as real as possible, unless you go and feel it yourself or someone tells you about it. Some may consider that artificial grass is not safe for the environment. However, the fact is these can prove to be incredibly environmentally friendly. Artificial grass can have a positive impact on nature. We will now discuss the positive impact of this grass on the environment.
1. It conserves water
Any natural grass demands require watering. It should be at least 2-3 times per week. However, the artificial grass does not need any water. The only water the grass requires is when you clean it to get rid of the debris, dust, and dirt from the surface. It is a seldom affair.
Some homeowners put their living plants over the perimeter of their lawn. These plants will still water; however, the consumption is merely 10-15 per cent of the water you require for any natural yard. Thus, one of the key reasons for installing artificial grass in your yard is water conservation.
2. There will be no mowing or other maintenance
Artificial grass does not require mowing. It remains at the perfect length. You do not have to worry about mowing the grass or even the weeds as your yard is free from any kind of growth. It helps in saving hours of your efforts and fuel cost for your weed eater and mower. Besides, your lawn with artificial grass will remain lush and green without having any water.
You do not need any other maintenance in your lawn like adding toxic chemicals unlike added in any lush green grass. You are not supposed to apply weed killers or pesticides in your artificial grass. All you need is an occasional cleaning of the grass to get rid of the dust and debris. Thus, the maintenance with artificial grass is virtually negligible.
What are the negative impacts of artificial grass to the environment?
Installing artificial grass can have some negative impacts on the environment. More often, these are made up of plastics. Hence, having heavy foot traffic can ruin the turf. The life span of the artificial grass is 10 to 20 years, and you have to dispose of it. These cannot be reused and hence become a part of the landfill.
Also, it is not biodegradable and thus needs countless years to break and become small pieces. The other adverse effects on the environment include wildlife habitat loss, synthetic material migration and contaminated runoff. Contaminants hurt aquatic life. We will now check the impact of artificial grass on the environment.
1. More landfill
The artificial grass is made up of plastic, which is harmful to our environment. The recycling process of artificial grass is complex; hence, these are left in landfills most of the time. When you leave the fake grass as a landfill, these remain leftover and take hundreds of years to transform into bits and pieces.
These also release toxins into the environment, thus polluting the soil. Hence, the process of disposing of the fake grasses is a big challenge. If these are not disposed of properly, they will worsen things badly. Most of the time, we see these transforming into massive landfills.
2. Litter in the waterways
It is alarming to see the plastic from artificial grass often end up in waterways. These contribute a lot as the waste enters the drains, which remain close to many open grounds and sporting fields. Also, these enter the oceans in a big way, causing problems for marine animals.
Besides, the drains are also choked with plastic grass floating in them, which eventually suffocate aquatic life, including fish, ducks, turtles, and even birds. The addition of litter reduces the oxygen level in the water when it finally decays.
3. Concerns about heat
The next issue with artificial grass is that it becomes hot on sunny days. When the temperature is high, the artificial turf can become like a brick wall or concrete. These are made up of materials like polypropylene or nylon. Regardless of the material choice, you can experience the heat on the grass surface.
Artificial grass can have more concerns about the heat during the summer days than natural grass. Experts say the high temperature can offer a couple of life-threatening heat-related illnesses to the users. At times, it can end in microplastic pollution. For the usual users, the heat on the grass can add discomfort to your feet.
What is a Natural Grass?
Natural grass in your lawn is a plant inhaling carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, thus helping humans and animals. It behaves like a natural filter for any groundwater and several microorganisms, which further becomes organic waste material.
Natural grass is among the preferred choice of people who want to enjoy an organic atmosphere in their yard. It gives too many benefits to growing on your lawn; however, the maintenance cost and efforts remain higher. It adds the charm of making your lawn green to enjoy the bliss. You can further explore about What is a Natural Grass?
What are the positive impacts of natural grass to the environment?
Natural grass has several beneficial impacts far beyond artificial grass. It offers too many personal and environmental benefits, which add to your life. These remain sustainable and eco-friendly, offering too many advantages, hard to match with artificial grass.
As per reports, in the US alone, it cleanses the air of 12 million tons of first and dusts annually, inhaling known impurities like carbon dioxide. It prevents soil erosion during the raining reason and even purifies the rainwater apart from improving groundwater quality.
1. Air quality
Natural grass is a living organism. Every plant consumes carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen into the atmosphere. Your lawn of 2500 square feet in your backyard can offer ample fresh air for your four family members to breathe. The same size lawn with natural grass can give you 1500 pounds annually.
Experts claim that the strategic use of lawn grass can effectively combat the greenhouse effect in urban locations. If you are based in a big city, you are bound to be surrounded by pollution. Having a natural grass lawn can help you improve the quality of air around your place.
The natural grass plays a vital role in taking away all the carbon dioxide you and your family exhale and taking the same oxygen which the grass exhales by taking the carbon dioxide inside. At the same time, it also plays a vital role in taking away tons of dust and rust released into the environment. As per an estimate, the natural grass traps around 12 million tons of dust and dirt every year.
2. Filter for pollution
As per a study, good quality natural grass in soccer can play an essential role in reducing pollution and runoff. If you take an example of a soccer field, it absorbs 50K gallons of water before you see runoff occurring. The fibrous root system makes the underneath soil stable and reduces erosion, further preventing sediment movement into rivers and creeks.
Additional studies suggest that the natural grass can also reduce the noise pollution around. Thus, if you have a natural grass-based lawn around your home, it can help in reducing noise pollution and therefore add peace of mind to the landscape’s beauty. As per an experiment, grass slopes around a motorway reduce noise up to 10 decibels.
3. Management of Stormwater
One of the vital aspects of natural grass is that it helps manage the stormwater. The lawns with natural grass reduce pollutants from leaching inside the soil into the water supply or prevent them from entering surface water runoff. It offers a green grass filter that further reduces the contaminants and sediments from entering water bodies.
Turfgrass plants are also known to redirect the water flow and thus reduce more water level that the soil absorbs. This helps prevent issues like flooding and soil erosion as the stormwater rushes into your yard. As per an estimate, any sodded and healthy lawn absorbs rainfall more than hay and wheat field.
4. Environmental heating
The presence of natural grass helps in reducing environmental heating. On any hot summer day, properly maintained grass in your yard has the potential of reducing not less than 14 degrees cooler than bare soil and 30 degrees by asphalt.
If you want to understand the intensity of the cooling effect of lawn grass, comparing it with an air conditioner can give you a fair idea. A home with a decent size lawn can have a cooling effect of not less than 9 tons of cooling effect with the air conditioner.
Similarly, any basketball field can offer a cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. Thus, grasses in sports premises help a lot in making the building cool. Similar is the story of the homeowners having lawns within their property.
Is it possible to combine real and artificial grass?
To be very precise, the answer is yes, and you can combine natural and artificial grass on your lawn. There are several reasons for doing this, as some of you can have a low maintenance space within your property and, at the same time, want to enjoy the biodiversity in your yard. Regardless of the reason, the combination is possible and practical.
You can put the artificial grass in one portion of your property, while the bigger area can be allocated for the natural grass-based lawn. However, you are free to choose any size or shape for the two. You can also install the two with no clear edge or seam between the property and the natural grass. You can always put the artificial grass in areas that remain shady and damp or places with higher foot traffic and leave the rest for the natural grass.
Don’t worry about the difference between the two, as two different natural types of grass under the same conditions in your home and the door next can have several visible differences. So, forget about the differences and enjoy the two together within your property.
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