How to solve the Microplastics problem?

Regular usage of artificial playing surfaces results in 250-300 kgs of microplastics ending up in the surrounding environment and water courses every year. Galco and their international drainage partner, Hauraton, are overcoming this challenge with a safe and effective solution for filtering and retaining microplastic particles.

Artificial playing surfaces use synthetic blades of grass as well as plastic and rubber granulates as infill material. But use and drainage of this result in microplastics being flushed out into the surface waters. To prevent water pollution, the plastic particles must be filtered out of the collected surface water before it is passed on.

The Sportfix Clean drainage system has a simple but effective filter substrate that can trap particles as small as 0.45 µm (0.00045 mm). The patented filter substratum Carbotec 60 consists of crushed mineral stone and all captured particles are kept safely at the filter surface while still allowing permanent permeability. This particle size includes microplastics from the infill material and broken grass blades as well as potentially harmful heavy metals like copper and tin. The performance of the filter leaves the outgoing water clear enough for direct filtration into an open water body or infiltration elements under the pitch.

Testing and performance

This substrate has been developed for over 10 years and monitored in state-funded research projects in Germany. This shows a 98.5% efficiency in keeping microplastics out of the outflow while allowing the captured infill material to be available for re-use. This system has received the Blue Angel certification as an environmentally friendly product as well as winning the Environment Technology Award from Baden-Wurttemberg for „Emission Reduction, Treatment and Separation“ in 2019.

Increased maintenance intervals

The system has been proven to work reliably over very long periods. Long maintenance intervals and simple cleaning represent additional benefits. The filter buckets should be inspected every 6 months and the filter cake that develops should be removed approx. every 3-5 years. Then you simply refill the quantity of substrate removed. After many years of use, filter cake forms on the surface of the filter. This is stripped off during maintenance and then only the filter substrate that was removed is replenished. The removed filter cake can be cleaned and reused using reprocessing equipment i.e. machines with washing and cyclone filters.

Circular economy

This has important implications for complying with the EU’s principles for a Circular Economy. These require that a ‘take back’ and ‘product as a service’ must exist or be created for used products and materials.

  • The recovered infill material can be cleaned and reused
  • The outflow of cleaned water can be stored in tanks for re-use
  • It is also fit to be irrigated directly
  • This allows a Sustainable use and re-use of water resources

SPORTFIX®CLEAN channels offer a simple but extraordi­narily simple solution. The channels safely collect not only surface water flowing off the sports field contaminated with microplastics, but also larger microplastic parts transported to and collected along the edge of the pitch during play. The water is collected and drained off in the channel run, while being fed through the channel filter and filtered at the same time.


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