Sand crisis

Did you know that sand is the second most consumed resource, just after water, (and before oil)? Between 27 and 40 billion tons of sand are extracted each year, which represents 18 kg per person per day! (1)

Indeed, sand is used to produce concrete, which is by far the main material used in recent building constructions. Sand is also necessary to produce glass and electronic products.

But, only a tiny fraction of sand on the planet can be used in industries. Desert sand, for example, is too thin. Consequently, if we keep on going this way, a “sand crisis” could happen : it is not a renewable resource. But we need it to protect coastal areas from rising water levels ! Besides, it is an essential habitat for many species. (2)

Though, at We Don’t Need Roads, we are convinced that the private sector can play a role in this. Plenty of solutions exist to avoid using excessive quantities of sand or recycling it.

Here are some inspiring examples :

M-S Société offers a sand recycling system for construction sites : with the “Save Sand” process, sand is extracted from the rubble, washed and reused later. It can help to recycle up to 30% of the sand amount used in construction (compared to 10% currently).

Materrup produces concrete made from recycled sand as well as clay-made concrete. Clay is a local and low-carbon resource that is a perfect alternative to sand.

Some researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapour are working on making concrete with recycled glass through 3D printing. Bonus : this technique is also consuming less water!

Let’s hope these solutions will become the norm in the construction field, it is not too late to act!

We don’t need old processes, we do need new inspiring solutions.

#sustainability #climatepositive #positiveimpact #climatechange #sustainableeconomy #economicaldarwinism


(2) United Nations Environment Program

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