PFAS-coated clothes that are thrown away will often end up either incinerated or in landfill. Unless incinerated at very high temperatures (>1000oC), fluorinated polymers could release more harmful PFAS during burning. PFAS of environmental concern have also been found in landfill leachate. PFAS is found in treated waste water from industrial and domestic sources and has been found in both rivers and groundwater. Conventional drinking water processes will not remove PFAS.Small quantities of PFAS will be removed during wash and wear of products containing PFAS. This includes fluorinated polymers used on stain-resistant coatings, and non-polymers that remain on clothes after production (Lassen et al. 2015).Non-polymer PFAS can build up in blood protein of animals, and is not always removed quickly. This means that predators eating PFAS-contaminated food will have higher levels in their bloodstream, and concentrations can increase up the food chain. Studies suggest that build up of PFAS is similar to those of other Persistent Organic Pollutants such as DDT.PFAS are estimated to be settling in arctic regions at rates of tens to hundreds of kilograms per year (25-850kg per year), depending on the specific PFAS chemical in question. Certain PFAS are released as gases to the environment and are blown a long way by wind and air currents in the atmosphere,. These gas PFAS will over time degrade to more persistent chemicals like PFOS and PFOA. This may be one reason why PFAS of environmental concern have been found in remote regions such as the Arctic as well as near PFAS production sitesPFAS including PFOS and PFOA have been found in air samples around Europe. The chemicals are found in small quantities, but appear in almost all samples tested. PFAS enters the atmosphere both from factories and the air inside our homes. Non-polymer PFAS are used in the production of fluorinated polymers. The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes generally releases these PFASs into the environment, both by air and water emissions. They are very hard to remove during water treatment. Workers in textiles factories are some of the population most exposed to these potentially harmful chemicals.

3G artificial pitches are a large and growing source of microplastic pollution.

Every year, thousands of tonnes of microplastic granules from 3G pitches enter the environment. Lost from the pitch by maintenance activities or kicked off during play, these granules end up in the soil, rivers and wildlife. 3G sports pitches are a growing source of microplastic pollution and we need new tactics to prevent the loss of microplastic.

At Fidra, we have set up the Pitch In project, along with KIMO international, to tackle microplastic pollution from 3G pitches head on.

Learn about the problem

Microplastic granules, often made from old car tyres, can easily escape from a 3G pitch. Lost granules can end up down drains, in nearby rivers and can build up in soil, where they can cause harm to wildlife.

Discover the solution

There are lots of ways to stop microplastic pollution from pitches, from alternatives to plastic to measures that stop granules escaping into the environment. Whether you design, manage or simply play on a pitch, everyone can play their part.

Take part

Want to be part of the solution?

If you use 3G pitches, we’ve got lots of activities you and your team can do to pitch in and stop plastic pollution from pitches.

Who are we?

Pitch In is a project developed and delivered by Fidra, an environmental charity based in East Lothian, Scotland, in collaboration with KIMO International.

The aim: to end microplastic pollution from 3G artificial turf.

Our work uses information collated from researchers, industry, government and other NGOs along with best available science, to establish and inform a wider dialogue with the 3G artificial turf industry, and the communities who use and benefit from them, on how to end microplastic pollution from 3G turf.

Fidra is a Scottish registered charity and SCIO no.SCO43895 visit to find out more about our work to end chemical and plastic pollution.