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Flooring Megastore refuses Artificial Grass sales due to environmental impact.

Flooring Megastore has decided to wholly refuse artificial grass sales across our website on the grounds of environmental impact, particularly once installed. Whilst many of the key product benefits make artificial grass sound like the landscaping dream being too good to be true, little is done to educate consumers on the impact plastic grass has on the surrounding environment where it's installed. Below we've set out our reasons why we have chosen to withdraw it from our online product offering.


What consumers are told

Below are typically the most popular reasons for opting for artificial grass:

  • Care-free gardens. No cutting, weeding, feeding or maintenance.
  • All-year-round greenery. No more mud. 
  • Reduce household gardening expenses with a permanently vibrant, green lawn.

What consumers aren't told

Common denominator here? Can you see it? No mention of the environmental impact the fake grass will have on the surrounding area it's being installed within. Here are some below:

Loss of Wildlife

Removing real, replacing with fake means we're playing with nature. Honeybees and Bumblebees, we know, are in decline and much has recently been published about their plight. Fake grass removes potential feeding ground for our pollinators - GIVE BEES A CHANCE! But it's not just our pollinators that suffer when real is replaced with artificial grass. Insects will lose their habitat and in turn, that means your lawn area will see fewer birds. Earthworms have nowhere to go, as a result, your once lawned area will see fewer birds and hedgehogs - all creatures we know to be in decline. Butterflies, Dragon Flies… will all suffer from no longer having lawn, clover, daisies, moss and buttercups to forage around in.

Carbon Removal

Lawns help to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, replacing it with oxygen. COP26 spent much time debating the need for capturing the increase of carbon in our atmosphere. The more carbon we have in our atmosphere, the hotter our environment becomes. This itself then accelerates global warming. As our air becomes less pure we have discovered more civilians suffering from respiratory problems - in particular asthma. This particular point was tragically underlined in 2013 when nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who lived in Lewisham (south east London) on the busy A205 South Circular road, passed away. The Coroner's verdict of her passing was "Air pollution" - the first case in The UK where air pollution was listed as a cause of death. Artificial grass cannot absorb carbon, replacing it with oxygen. Lawns can breathe life into our environment so retain your lawn!

Unbearable in high temperatures

Once the outside temperature moves to the high 20 degrees Celsius, artificial grass becomes as hot as a Mediterranean beach. Walking barefoot becomes a challenge. Lawns, of course, do not have this issue and allow you to lay or walk on them no matter what the temperature is.

Animal Odour

Cats, dogs, even foxes can and will do what comes naturally on your fake grass. And yes whilst you can water it down to wash away, this will, over time, only be able to do so much before things start to build up inside and underneath your artificial grass. On particularly warmer days of the year, you'll start to find a distasteful smell coming from the grass in areas where pets like to do their business.

It's not-so-maintenance-free

Your artificial grass is, effectively, a rather large exterior doormat. It will trap everything that falls on it. Leaves and all other airborne debris will still need attending if you are to keep your fake grass looking as new as possible. However, perhaps what's less thought about is appearance retention. Most fake lawns are constructed from polypropylene. Polypropylene is very robust and keenly priced but quickly loses its upright definition. In other words, it will start to lay flat and go shiny. Better quality products are likely to retain their appearance for longer. If you want to try and combat the inevitable flattening phenomena, you will need to regularly rake your lawn, encouraging it to stand proud once more. Maintenance-free? No, artificial grasses are not.

Ineffective in Flash Floods

As global warming takes a grip, rapid rainfall leading to flash floods is becoming more frequent. We know the increase in block paving isn't capable of absorbing these waters and it can also be true for artificial grass - depending on the substrate used. A concrete substrate will not allow soakaway.

Made in China

And finally, a deep, ethical thought - If a seller of artificial grass does not state the origin of produce, there is a high chance it was made in China. Are "we" OK consuming goods from China when we can buy similar products nearer to home? Why is buying from China something to question? COAL! We know, and in fact it came up time after time in November's Glasgow based COP26, that our single biggest environmental issue is burning coal. A recent BBC document entitled "Towards Net Zero", published on 3rd November 2021, stated:  "Many have pointed out that China's own domestic coal consumption and funding remains untouched. China currently consumes more than half the world's coal, burning three billion tonnes in 2020 alone. It has by far the largest amount of proposed coal capacity, with nearly 97 gigawatts under construction and another 163 gigawatts in planning – on top of China's existing 1,100 gigawatts, according to GEM. In September 2020, China announced its intention to become carbon neutral before 2060. It followed this up in April 2021 with a pledge to limit the increase in coal generation until 2025, and start to gradually phase it out after this. However, energy shortages in the country have led the government to increase coal mining output, leading to record high outputs for the year." Click here to view the document.

On 4th November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, 46 nations signed up for "Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement".   The opening two paragraphs of this pledge are " We, the undersigned, noting that coal power generation is the single biggest cause of global temperature increases, recognise the imperative to urgently scale-up the deployment of clean power to accelerate the energy transition.  We commit to work together to make clean power the most affordable and accessible option globally, with ensuing economic and health benefits as we build back better from the COVID pandemic." It is a concern that China did not sign up for this pledge. You can read the details by clicking here.

Conclusion

After digesting all this information and relating this to artificial grass, we appreciate that some places do have an acceptable use for artificial grass. Balconies and dressing retail store point of sale are a couple of such examples but because we can't police why and where fake grass is being used we decided to withdraw from selling the product altogether. Our educated guess is roughly 75-90% of fake grass purchases in the UK are currently being used to replace homeowner lawns. As a result of all this, we think the best thing Flooring Megastore can do for the environment is to educate the world on the pros and cons (of which we believe there to be more cons than pros) of fake grass and remove our support for selling them for profit… it doesn't feel right to continue selling fake grass. In the end, it's easy. You can't talk about wanting to save the planet by reducing environmental impact whilst profiteering from selling artificial grass (which possibly originated in China), so for that reason, we're out!