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Homeowner draws ire with photo of controversial lawn alternative decision: 'The sooner it's banned, the better'

"[This] makes me sad."

"[This] makes me sad."

Photo Credit: iStock

A homeowner earned the ire of Reddit recently after showing off their artificial turf lawn. The poster took to r/landscaping to share a photo of a small space covered with plastic grass.

"Brushed some stripes into the artificial lawn," they wrote above the photo. 

"[This] makes me sad."
Photo Credit: u/kurtyyyyyy1 / Reddit

Some commenters approved, but others noted the harm of the decision.

Artificial turf includes dangerous chemicals and other toxins, namely PFAS or forever chemicals. The health problems associated with these carcinogens — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — include neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity. Because of these and other risks, cities such as Boston have banned the use of the synthetic surface.

Though some users defended the poster's "personal choice," others pointed out "that stuff effects all of us" and "the price of living in a society is sometimes things override personal choice."

Other issues caused by turf are microplastic pollution, wildlife harm, and heat-related illnesses in humans. The plastic product degrades and makes its way into bodies of water, killing aquatic organisms and reaching the ocean. In addition to contributing to dehydration and heat exhaustion, superheated turf can burn skin and emit lead, volatile organic compounds, and methane, the most potent planet-warming gas.

One Redditor detailed the best alternative to turf (and even real grass), writing: "I'm actually working on a fully native yard to provide for pollinators. … Even a rock yard would be better for the environment."

Planting native species in a garden saves money and time on lawn maintenance. While turf is marketed as a maintenance-free solution to traditional lawns, even landscapers say that's a gimmick.

Native plants also help homeowners conserve water and lower bills, as their efficient root systems require up to 80% less water. This helps create healthier ecosystems for pollinators, birds, and other animals, which in turn benefit humans; 70% of fruits, vegetables, and nuts would be unable to reproduce or provide food without the indispensable B's — birds, bats, bees, butterflies, and beetles. 

Other eco-friendly, low-maintenance lawn replacement options include clover, buffalo grass, and xeriscaping.

"Ugh," one user wrote. "Fake grass makes me sad."

Another said, "the sooner it's banned, the better."

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