A more sustainable sand supply

The concrete industry is shifting towards a sustainable model. It’s time for the sand industry to shift too.

Sand is the 3rd most consumed natural resource – even before oil. We use 50 billion tonnes per year, which is twice as much as every river in the world produces. Most of it goes into concrete for construction of housing developments and infrastructure. As a result of exponentially growing populations and booming megacities, the global demand for sand is insatiable.

As a result of high demand, sand resources are being overexploited. The construction industry relies on ocean and river sand due to the angular nature of their grains, and strength. However this reliance means that these sensitive ecosystems are persistently disturbed by the ocean and river sand dredging, that siphon sand from these habitats. The intensity of these operations is causing environmental damage – fish and wildlife loss, coastal and river bed erosion, increased flooding and salinized farmlands. Meanwhile, fishermen and farmers are losing their livelihoods, some their homes and others their land.

Dozens of articles, from the BBC, from the Guardian, the Smithsonian and even Forbes have taken notice of the issue. Nature, the science journal has too reported that global demand exceeded supply in 2019, and the UN called for action in the same year in their report on Sand and Sustainability.

 It is time to challenge the paradigm of infinite sand resources through constructive dialogue and solution-finding.

Sand and Sustainability: Finding New Solutions for Environmental Governance of Global Sand Resources, United Nations, 2019.

Fibrilex believes it is time for a solution. Concrete companies are taking strides to transition towards a more sustainable future, with carbon absorbing cement, and other technologies. The sand industry needs to follow suit.

As governments build back better, with great investments in infrastructure, construction and green technologies, its the perfect time for the sand and concrete industry to shift towards a more sustainable supply.

With our “Engineered Sand” technology, Fibrilex helps dune and frac sand producers move into the sustainable concrete supply chain, providing local and sustainable sand, and concrete producers to source their sand locally and sustainably.