The demand for raw materials is increasing worldwide and with it the need to use raw materials more efficiently and smartly. It is no coincidence that the European Union aims to create a fully circular economy by 2050 and is implementing rules for sustainable entrepreneurship. At Schmitz Foam Products, sustainable entrepreneurship runs like a thread through the company strategy. Indeed, circular entrepreneurship is in our DNA. 

It all started in 1935 in a small village near Roermond (The Netherlands), where the Schmitz family started a transport and construction company. The company soon became known for its unparalleled solutions, innovation and quality. It continued to expand its services in the following years, including a foam waste collection service. At the time, it was very common to burn or dump excess foam and foam residues. But the Schmitz family came up with a way to use the collected foam as raw material for a high-quality new product: shock-absorbing and draining solutions for sports fields and playgrounds. This was the beginning of Schmitz Foam Products.

The continuous loop of giving quality foam a purpose

Today, Schmitz Foam Products is the world market leader in the field of circular shockpads for high-quality artificial turf systems for sports fields, playgrounds and other applications. Our ProPlay shockpads are made of cross-linked polyethylene foam (XPE) with a closed-cell structure. This foam was originally produced for other applications in, for example, the automotive, packaging and sports and leisure industry or in construction, where high quality and product performance are key. We offer these XPE foam remnants a second chance and prevent tons of foam residues from being sent to landfills or ending up in incinerators as waste every year. At the same time, the start of a continuous cycle is made.

20211005_Schmitz-00077Circular shock pads

More than 5,000 full-size pitches with ProPlay shockpads have now been realised, in more than 80 countries. ProPlay's quality is now well known and frequently documented. ProPlay shock and drainage pads offer safety to athletes, contribute to the experience and quality of play and extend the lifespan of the artificial turf pitch. Our shock pads distinguish themselves in many ways, but one aspect in which ProPlay absolutely stands out is environment and circularity. Because as soon as a ProPlay shock pad is no longer used for its original application, it can always be reused in another sports field or playgrounds. Thanks to the use of quality foam, there is virtually no quality degradation. A ProPlay shock pad that is no longer adequate for use in a sports field can still be useful in another application or can be recycled.

We have established a protocol for taking back ProPlay shock pads at the end of their life. The shock pads can be returned to us, after which they are cleaned. This is done in the innovative washing line we realised in 2023. After this, they can either be reused for other applications or shredded, dried and recycled. For example, for the production of new high-quality shock pads. Recycling our own products not only reduces waste going to landfill, but also reduces the use of primary raw materials.

20211005_Schmitz-00081-1Continuous optimisation and sustainability

The ability to use foam indefinitely is partly due to the in-depth knowledge and experience we have about polyethylene foam. This knowledge and experience enables and challenges us to keep looking at how we can further optimise our production process and whether we can be even more resource-efficient. The foams we use as raw materials come from Europe's largest foam producers and processors. We facilitate producers who can regularly deliver large volumes with machines and procedures that allow them to shred residual foams themselves. In this way, we can jointly increase the volume per transport and reduce the number of trucks required per transport. Instead of three to five trucks, only one truck is now needed to transport the shredded foam to our site in Roermond. The savings thus achieved for the environment are significant.

recycle-squareInfinite loop

The fact that, in addition to foam remnants from suppliers, we can also reuse our own ProPlay shock pads at the end of their life in another application, or recycle them into raw material for new shockpads, makes ProPlay production a completely closed system. From raw material to top-quality shockpad that, once again, can serve as the basis for yet another quality product: Schmitz Foam Products controls the entire chain. This makes ProPlay shock pads the best solution not only for players, but also for designers, builders and administrators who want the environment to win as well. 

wereldbol op gras

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ProPlay: the most sustainable shock pad available!