You may already be familiar with the many advantages of artificial grass, but what about the disadvantages? Learn more here.
The global artificial turf market is a gigantic industry, estimated to be worth $2765.6 billion (R39.1 trillion) as of 2019. With a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%, the industry is expected to reach a value of $3808.9 billion (R55.28 trillion) by 2025!
The reason for the popularity of this material is practicality. Artificial grass offers a wide range of benefits, from low maintenance gardening to reduced water costs.
What are the downsides and negatives of artificial grass?
Does artificial grass pose any health and safety risks? Is it expensive? How easy is it to install? Can I buy artificial grass near me? To discover the answers to these questions while exploring the downsides of using artificial turf grass, keep on reading!
Financial Costs of Artificial Grass Systems?
How much does artificial grass cost? How long is a piece of string? As with any similar product, the cost of artificial grass depends entirely on the quality.
Some of the cheaper options cost around R145 per square meter. This may seem like a bargain, but cheap artificial turf often looks exactly how you’d imagine cheap, fake grass to look.
The medium price range would be closer to R250. And while the quality can be better at this price, it’s best to get samples. Just because you’re paying more doesn’t guarantee you better-looking grass.
The premium artificial grass cost is between R500 and R600 per m2, depending on just how premium you want to go. This may seem expensive, but the cost comes with higher quality. Most manufacturers will estimate that the product will last 10-15 years.
Artificial grass installation is a separate issue. On top of the cost of the product, you could be paying anywhere between R85 and R169 per square meter, depending on the surface it’s being installed onto.
In comparison to buying some dirt and grass seeds, the cost of artificial grass installation and materials is quite steep!
Fake grass might leave a dent in your pocket, but it could be doing a similar thing to the environment. It’s possible to purchase environmentally friendly artificial grass, but many still contribute to damaging the local and global environment.
According to Madeline Berg from Fidra (an environmental charity), it’s unlikely that any artificial grass doesn’t negatively contribute to pollution and other environmental problems in some way. Her worry is the microplastics.
Microplastics are tiny, microscopic plastic particles that are now in every aspect of the environment, from animals to the air to the sea. Microplastics are damaging when consumed, which is a growing issue on global ecosystems.
Although it’s possible to recycle some types of artificial grass, this usually requires specialist recycling plants. Transporting the material across countries for recycling isn’t great for the environment and simply isn’t possible or practical for most people.
The South African Plastics Recycling Organization offers information on identifying plastics that can be recycled, and while they mention polypropylene and polyethylene (found in plastic bottles), polyamide is missing.
It’s common for all three of these to be present in artificial grass.
This map shows waste and recycling locations in South Africa, but currently, plastics used in artificial grass can’t be easily recycled by the public.
Even the simper elements of fake grass, such as using sand instead of soil, can release CO2 that’s stored in the earth. Not to mention that artificial turf reduces biodiversity as the fake grass can’t absorb sunlight, take in CO2, release oxygen, or feed animals.
Problems with heat contributing to the Negatives of Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass absorbs more heat and light than natural grass. When the sun is shining down on it, the fake grass heats up and can become uncomfortably warm. While certain types of infill can cool the material down, others can cause it to heat up.
It’s important to understand the different types of grass and infill.
Given that the average summer temperature in South Africa is 25°C/77°F, it’s not always practical to use any material that doesn’t react well to heat.
Although it might not seem like an advantage, the natural grass will burn if exposed to flame or extreme temperatures. Whereas artificial grass will melt, producing smoke in the process. This could happen due to a cigarette, a lump of burning coal, or an intense reflection from a window.
Luckily, artificial grass can also be repaired, so any damage is fixable.
Missing the Pleasures of Grass
One of the major disadvantages of artificial grass is simply that it’s not real grass. No matter how realistic fake grass becomes, it will never quite be the same.
There are many advantages to artificial turf, but even the best artificial grass will be incomparable to what Mother Nature can create.
One way that this is particularly noticeable is with the smell. With natural grass, any spillages will be washed into the ground by the rain. And while this is often true for fake grass as well, there are exceptions.
Certain infills can hold odors by ineffectively draining liquids. As bacteria festers, the smell will only get worse. This can be easily fixed by cleaning the area, but it’s best to speak to professionals to understand the type of infill that will work best for you.
Can Feel Like Cheating
Many people choose to buy artificial turf as a way of removing grass maintenance. With fake grass, you don’t need to cut it, pull weeds, use special nutrients, or worry about watering it. But for some people, the unnatural element can disrupt the feel of their garden.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys getting their hands dirty in the garden, you may begin to feel like you’re cheating.
If you’re not much of a gardener or if you’re not buying artificial grass for a garden, then this won’t seem like a disadvantage. After all, artificial turf can save you time. It all depends on what your priorities are.
Artificial Grass Near Me
As with anything, there are many pros and cons to artificial grass. Many of the cons come down to personal preference and budget. The higher the quality you can afford, the fewer problems you’re likely to encounter.
If you’re interested in buying artificial turf, talk to the experts! Contact us today to get a free customized cost analysis!