Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,000) has developed a new process to make its pitch 100% recyclable, which is believed to be a first in football.

The process, developed by Wembley Stadium grounds manager Karl Standley (pictured), will see the plastic from Wembley’s turf recycled into a reusable plastic format.

It is the result of a two-year plan to find a suitable solution to recycling modern-day football pitches, which are a hybrid of grass and synthetic plastic.

The stadium team has created a bench, made entirely out of plastic from the pitch, which has already been placed within the stadium in memory of an employee who passed away last year.

The stadium team estimates that around 50 benches could be created from one pitch with scope to develop the recycled plastic for other uses within grassroots football.

Standley said, “Extracting the plastic from a hybrid pitch is notoriously difficult, due to its compound and structure. When we first mooted the idea of recycling it, we were told it couldn’t be done. However, we were determined to find a sustainable answer to the problem.

“It’s been a long journey, testing and re-testing, but we have finally come up with a solution we are happy with.

“Creating something from a pitch that has had world-class players perform on it is the ultimate memento. I am excited about what else we can possibly create in the future.”

Since the new stadium opened in 2007, Wembley has recycled large elements of the pitch (rootzone and sand) back into grassroots pitches.

The stadium worked with recycling specialists Circular 11 on the new project. Connor Winter from Circular 11 said, “The full circle pitch has been one of the most technically demanding and exciting projects that we’ve worked on to date, and we’re really proud to be a part of this pioneering project.

“It demonstrates that there are huge opportunities to increase plastic recycling when companies have unrelentingly high standards about what happens to the materials they use, as Wembley does, and shows the potential for composite technology to transform previously unrecyclable plastic into a resource.”

Wembley Stadium now hopes the process will lead to other stadiums across the UK and Europe becoming more sustainable.

Standley added, “As more stadiums become multi-purpose venues, hosting a variety of sports, music and entertainment shows, there is a need to use more hybrid carpet surfaces throughout the year.

“By ensuring old pitches don’t go to landfill we can create a cycle that will ultimately reduce our impact on the environment and benefit community clubs up and down the country for a long time to come.”

Last year, Wembley Stadium unveiled a new pitch technology which allows the venue to be ready to host football fixtures after concerts around seven times faster than before.