When mission meets innovation, there are only winners. The latest award-winning example of this is VfL Sittensen. In the first ever Sustainability Award of the Lower Saxony Football Association, the sports club stood out from 41 competitors with its sustainability concept, “Mosaic”.
The environmentally friendly synthetic turf from Polytan, in particular, impressed the panel of eleven jurors, which included Interior Minister of Lower Saxony Boris Pistorius, Former World Football Champion Pierre Littbarski, National Goalkeeper Almuth Schult and FIFA Referee Riem Hussein.
Synthetic turf was the subject of media criticism in the microplastics debate. Wrongly so, as VfL Sittensen Chairman Egbert Haneke discovered when embarking on the implementation phase of the plan.
Haneke sought an innovative partner in the industry to work on the project, and found one in Polytan. The company laid a synthetic turf in Sittensen, featuring PE yarn that was for the first time sourced primarily from renewable materials instead of fossil materials (in this case, sugar cane).
If that wasn’t enough: the entire production process is CO2-neutral, thanks to renewable energy and an optimised production workflow. “In addition, this turf has a high percentage of PE yarn compared to conventional synthetic turf systems, so we needed far less infill,” explained Haneke. The rubber granules used for the infill are made from up to 70% hemp and chalk, i.e. natural raw materials.
However, developments at the Sittensen test facility extended far beyond the environmentally friendly synthetic turf. For a further pitch, the club opted for natural infill made of small, rounded wood chips instead of cork. The wood chips do not rise to the surface. This is so effective that Polytan decided to adopt the pilot project as a permanent product in its portfolio.
Now, the club and Haneke are reaping the rewards and received the award in an official ceremony. The cherry on top was a prize of 5,000 euros and a charging station for electric cars from Elli (a company in the Volkswagen Group) worth 2,500 euros.
In the speeches of the award ceremony, the role of the environmentally friendly synthetic turf by Polytan received a special mention: “Great importance was attached to the prevention of microplastic emissions during its construction,” explained Haneke in his thank you speech.