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EPA Seeks Better Use of Millions of Tons of Wasted Sand

Release Date: 09/18/2006
Contact Information: Dave Ryan, (202) 564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C. - Sept. 18, 2006) EPA is today releasing a guide to help states get more productive use out of millions of tons of sand discarded by the foundry industry.

The State Toolkit for Developing Beneficial Reuse Programs for Foundry Sand is designed to significantly increase the volume of sand that is reused from foundry operations, saving landfill capacity and protecting natural resources.

Foundry products are found in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation, construction, agricultural equipment, and military weapon systems.

Each year, foundries, also known as metal casters, use about 100 million tons of sand to create molds for cast metal, but then dispose of about 10 million tons. Most of the disposed sand is not hazardous and could be reused in a variety of ways, including roadbeds, construction fill, and cement manufacturing. However, barriers in state programs and the market result in only about one million tons (10 percent) being reused to benefit society. For example, State barriers include the time required for approval of reuse requests, overly strict requirements for testing by-products proposed for reuse, and insufficient outreach on how to apply for the beneficial use activity.

While the
Toolkit can help states promote beneficial reuse of foundry sand, it is also helpful to states when starting or revising programs aimed at a much wider range of industrial byproducts, such as coal combustion by-products and construction and demolition debris.

Toolkit was released today by EPA before the American Foundry Society at their 18th Environmental Health and Safety Conference in Nashville.

For a copy of the Toolkit and more information about beneficial reuse of foundry sand, visit:

The Toolkit was developed through the Sector Strategies program ( in EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, in partnership with the foundry industry and EPA's Resource Conservation Challenge, which is focusing on foundry sands as one of three industrial byproducts that present strong reuse opportunities (The other two are coal combustion by-products and construction and demolition debris).

For more information about the Resource Conservation Challenge, visit: