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Foundry Sand

Foundry Sand

Foundry sand is used to build molds and cores for use in the metalcasting process. The sand is reused and recycled numerous times internally by the foundry before it is rendered unusable. Approximately, 6‒10 million tons of foundry sand is discarded each year. A survey conducted by the American Foundry Society (AFS) revealed that foundries were recycling and reusing 28 percent of discarded sands in non-landfill applications. Proven market applications for metalcasting sand generally break down into three groups:

  • Highway and Construction Uses – many types of construction projects require granular materials to level construction sites, create berms or retaining walls, build embankments, or backfill structures. Properly prepared metalcasting sands have been shown to perform well in all of these applications.

  • Aggregate Substitutes – in these applications, recycled foundry sands substitute for other fine aggregates in a product that is bound together in some manner. The highest volume uses in manufactured products are: feedstock for Portland Cement kilns, fine aggregate in hot mix asphalt and fine aggregate in flowable fill.

  • Manufactured Soils – metalcasting sand is an ideal candidate for soil blending because of its composition, color and consistency. In urban areas, soil scientists in nursery and landscaping companies are manufacturing soils by blending a range of recycled materials with organic matter.

AFS-FIRST, an independent non-profit association, is leading the industry’s efforts to promote foundry sand recycling. The organization exists to educate foundries, end users, government agencies and other partners about the benefits of using foundry byproducts.

More Resources

AFS-FIRST. An independent non-profit organization that promotes recycling of foundry sand.

US EPA. Provides information on beneficial uses for spent foundry sands, regulatory information and a risk assessment covering manufactured soils, soil-less potting media and roadway subbase.

Waupaca Foundry. A foundry sand recycling success story. Over 70% of the sand they use for making castings is recycled every year. This ‘spent’ sand finds new life in applications from road and general construction, and agricultural use to and geotechnical fill. It adds up to over 400,000 tons. It keeps the sand out of landfills and reduces the need for mining new materials.