Mark Rannie, Chairman of ISRI’s Tire and Rubber Division and vice president of Baltimore-based Emanuel Tire, submitted comments Feb. 24 on behalf of the Tire and Rubber Division on Maryland’s House Bill 857.

The proposed bill was introduced Jan. 29 by Mary A. Lehman of Maryland’s 21st District and referred to the Committees for Environment and Transportation and Economic Matters. It requires a certain producer of synthetic turf and turf infill “to establish a system to track the chain of custody of the synthetic turf and turf infill from their manufacture to their reuse, recycling, and final disposal on or before Jan. 1, 2022,” in addition to other requirements.

In his comments, Rannie noted the bill deprives property owners of control, management, and bargaining rights of their own property. Currently, he said, if a property owner chooses to uninstall a synthetic turf field, that person can recover some of the value of the commodities that make up the turf through the recycling process. The legislation eliminates the possibility for property owners to recover that value, he said. Instead, property owners must appeal to the manufacturer to request permission from the state to retake custody. The producer-responsibility control mechanism is “not appropriate for valuable recyclable commodities for which there is a vibrant and active marketplace,” he argued.

“By mandating that manufacturers of individual components of a synthetic turf field system are responsible for the end-of-life management of fields, ISRI believes that this legislation will take power over end-of-life management decisions from field owners and limit the recyclability of synthetic turf and infill, not encourage it,” Rannie concluded.

ISRI and its tire recyclers have long monitored efforts to regulate synthetic turf fields. ISRI launched five years ago as a source of news and studies related to recycled rubber infill.