The growth of the global lawn and garden consumables market is driven by increase in building & construction activities in most countries together with several government schemes to build more green spaces fighting climate change, has boosted the demand for lawn and turfgrass in commercial and residential spaces.1 At the same time, this has also led to an increasing in consumption of plastic net use in this sector where it ended up in the soil, unless there is an alternatives solution to overcome this plastic waste issue.
Turfgrass provides beautiful green areas within our urban and suburban landscapes. Turfgrasses have been maintained by humans to enhance their environment for more than 10 centuries2 and turf industry is a consolidated sector of the economy in some countries, such as USA, China, Australia, UK, Netherland, and Denmark. In a study by Navsari Agricultural University mentioned that in a global scale, this industry is serving more than 700,000 athletic fields, over 17,000 golf courses. The turfgrass industry is expanding all over the world and has annual associated revenues more than USD20 million each year. Currently, in the USA alone, there are more than 62 million acres (approx. 250,906 km2) of maintained turfgrass including lawns, parks, golf courses, highway, etc.3
Regardless of turf grass benefits over the environmental impact for example being soil erosion prevention, soil carbon sequestration, and mitigation of urban heat island effect, the use of plastic materials to support this industry is in tremendous amount and becoming one of the concerns too. In a turf grass industry, the turf producers use underground nets to support grass growth and these nets are mostly made from plastic. The plastic nets support logistics of the turf, reducing damaging risk and make harvesting faster. However, these nets are always left behind in the soil causing plastic pollution resulting in microplastics and discomfort when removal of the turf upon renovation of the space.
The solution to help mitigates this issue is working around biodegradable alternatives. The concept for the biodegradable net should be that it can retain its function for a period of time before it will start to biodegrade. Recently, there was a project study by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and their industrial partners including TENAX, Hendriks Graszoden, PTT MCC Biochem and Mitsubishi Chemical Europe, to select BioPBS as a based material in their nets’ formulation.4 The project has undergone trials and its success can further support agricultural and horticultural businesses in a more sustainable way that not only the material is bio-based but also can be biodegradable in soil at its end of life with no harm to the environment comparing to conventional plastic.
TENAX, as one of the project’s industrial partners in Italy who specialize in manufacturing plastic netting has shown their support in realizing this biodegradable net solution technology into the market. Since 1960 that TENAX Group was founded and advanced the extrusion of tubular netting, the company has continued to build up and create a broad and diversified fund of knowledge, working in a close contact with its partners and clients to experiments, develops and promotes highly innovative solutions to the world. With this new biodegradable nets utilizing BioPBS as a based material, it could catch up strong interest from the market where there’s greener opportunities in agricultural and horticultural sector in the future to come.
2 – J. Marshall Clark, Michael P. Kenna, in Hayes' Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology (Third Edition), 2010
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