Money doesn’t come easily to farmland owners in the tranquil, rolling hills of Pennsylvania. So at first, Jim Halkias thought he’d hit the jackpot. A real estate broker had approached him in late 2018, and explained that a Denmark-based recycling company called Re-Match wanted to pay $4,500 a month to store more than 1,000 rolls of used, deteriorating artificial turf on 45 acres that Halkias owns in Grantville, Dauphin County. The company didn’t yet have a recycling facility in the United States, but the offer was enticing. The deal soon soured.
Kyla Bennett is a former EPA official and leading expert on PFAS, and now serves as a science policy director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The turf recycling process, which involves separating sand and crumb rubber infill from the plastic green carpet, doesn’t remove PFAS, which Bennett said renders even the recycled product contaminated.