It goes by many names – fake grass, synthetic turf and even faux lawn – but we prefer to call it artificial grass. Our products are textiles made to look, feel and perform as well or better than natural grass. But it is artificial and when you’re considering installing any product in your home it’s in your best interest to know what, exactly, that product is made of.
At Purchase Green the vast majority of our grasses are made primarily of either polyethylene or polypropylene. So let’s explore what these materials are, where they come from and why we use them.
A Many Splendored Thing
First, let’s breakdown the words polyethylene and polypropylene. Poly comes from the Greek word “pollós”, meaning “many”. Ethylene and propylene, meanwhile, are monomer (a molecule that likes to bind to other molecules to create polymers) hydrocarbons that generally exist in a gaseous state. Hydrocarbons are often collected as byproducts of petroleum and natural gas refinement. But ethylene is also found in plants which use it as a ripening agent.
Ethylene also has Egyptian origins as they are thought to have used the practice of “wounding” fruit in order to stimulate ethylene production and speed ripening.
Polyethylene, as well as polypropylene, are created by the bonding of many chains of monomer hydrocarbons – in this case, ethylene and propylene. Polyethylene and polypropylene are also referred to as polymers.
So what are these polymers used for? Well, you’re probably surrounded by them right now. There’s a chance your carpet fibers are made of polypropylene and polyethylene constitutes just about any plastic you may use – from water bottles and cereal bowls to food packing and shopping bags.
In fact, polyethylene and polypropylene are the two most common plastics in the world.
Why is it in Artificial Grass?
Back in the 1940s, a new fashion craze was sweeping the nation. Women everywhere started wearing “nylons”. Nylons, as you may deduce, were made of nylon, a synthetic fiber created by DuPont that could readily be made into all sorts of things, including clothing. It was the dawn of the synthetic fiber age.
Other synthetic fibers followed and are known as olefins. Olefin fibers are today commonly made with – yep – polyethylene or polypropylene. Olefins are well-regarded in the textile and manufacturing industries because of their strength, colorfastness and comfort. Olefins are also excellent at resisting damage from staining, mildew, abrasion and sunlight. They also maintain these properties whether they’re wet or dry.
By now you’re probably starting to see why our grasses are made of polyethylene and polypropylene. In addition to all the amazing properties mentioned, olefins are highly resilient, meaning they can withstand years of use and still look and perform great.
So that’s the story of why polyethylene and polypropylene are used to create artificial grass fibers. They look, feel and function great. They’re materials that are proven safe. And, despite what you may have heard, are very much recyclable.
Artificial grass is indeed artificial, but it’s made of real, amazing stuff.