Plastic pollution could stop horse riders in their tracks

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Plastic pollution could stop horse riders in their tracks

Plastic granulate, sold as an alternative surface for equestrian centres, could place horses and riders at risk, present a pollution hazard and lead to owners falling foul of the law.

Plastic granulate is a waste material derived from the recycling of cable sheathing and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). It’s being marketed by some waste producers and brokers as a base material for horse manages and track surfaces. However, there is no legal route available for its use, or waste disposal for this purpose except in accordance with an Environmental Permit.

Furthermore, the plastics contained within this material can contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s), phthalates and lead stearate. Weathering can cause leaching of these toxic substances into the wider environment, potentially causing contamination to land and groundwater. Some plastic granulate may even be cross-contaminated with non-plastic elements such as metal fragments and glass, making surfaces where it’s used potentially harmful for horses and riders.

Environment Agency officer, Greg Deakin said:

We’re determined to eliminate avoidable waste and crack down on plastics as part of the government’s 25-year environmental plan.

We’re therefore urging those with equestrian facilities to carefully consider the use of this material. It might be offered free of charge or for a small delivery fee, but it is an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations to use this waste without appropriate environmental controls.

If you’re found to have plastic granulate waste deposited on your land without the appropriate Environmental Permit awarded by the Environment Agency, you could be fined and be liable for the cost of its disposal.”

Producers or brokers of plastic granulate have a legal duty of care to ensure plastic granulate is disposed of at a permitted facility. If you are approached and offered this material and you do not have an appropriate Environmental Permit, please let us know on 03708 506 506 and ask to speak to your local waste team. Alternatively, you can email the details to


If you are aware of any deposit of this waste please report it, anonymously if you prefer, to our 24-hour National Incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Written by 

Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse email:

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