Shutterstock

The California town has banned plastic lawns over environmental concerns

Residents in Glendale, Calif., may have just been trying to get it right when they installed astroturf on their lawns. The southern California community butts up against Pasadena and Burbank, a thirsty part of the world, so a waterless lawn that stays green all year has been an attractive option for many residents.

The times have changed, though, and Glendale has banned artificial turf for front yards only and begun issuing warnings to residents who won’t let the plastic green stuff go.

The ban comes over concerns about potential environmental hazards, such as lead leaching out of the plastic and into the ground. Astroturf can also contribute to heat island effect. In cities where building and paving has already reduced many natural cooling systems, heat island effect can increase energy demand, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well as heat-related illness and mortality, warns the Environmental Protection Agency. Combating the problem by covering heat-producing surfaces with native grasses can earn builders a LEED credit.

Geneva Dotson, a Glendale resident who had to tear up her front lawn, told the Glendale News-Press she was “blind-sided” by the edict, but didn’t think it was worth the hassle to fight it. So far the city has issued six notices, and warns the matter could be handed over to the city attorney for criminal prosecution if residents fail to comply.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / r.classen

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  3. photo: a woman on an electric scooter
    Transportation

    Most Electric Scooter Riders Are Men. Here's Why.

    Most users of micromobility devices like dockless scooters and e-bikes are young men. Fixing that gender gap may take more than just adding safety features.

  4. Transportation

    How to Design a City for Women

    A fascinating experiment in "gender mainstreaming."

  5. Life

    The ‘Transit-Oriented Teens’ Are Coming to Save Your City

    The 62,000 members of this urbanist Facebook group are doing more than just making weird memes. (But they are making a lot of weird memes.)

×