Landscaping sand is a go-to material for all kinds of projects. But while it may be versatile, traditional sand causes some unpleasant effects on the environment. From tearing up habitats to pumping out emissions during transportation, irresponsible sand sourcing can cause significant harm to the planet.
As interest in sustainable landscaping grows, you have a prime opportunity to show leadership by using more eco-friendly sand options. Here are some earth-friendly sand choices and ethical sourcing practices to reduce your environmental impact.
How Traditional Sand Hurts the Environment
Most sand used in landscaping originates from quarries and mining operations. Extracting it requires heavy equipment that clears out vegetation and destroys animal habitats. Sand mining also erodes land around waterways, damaging ecosystems that wildlife depend on.
Once extracted, the sand needs transportation — often traveling long distances. Those transport miles account for a hefty portion of sand’s carbon footprint through greenhouse gas emissions. The further the material has to travel, the more it negatively impacts the environment.
Aside from habitat destruction and emissions, irresponsible mining threatens biodiversity. Beaches and rivers where sand is extracted can cause significant disturbances to nesting areas for endangered birds and sea turtles. Plus, groundwater resources may be depleted or contaminated.
Eco-Friendly Sand Alternatives
You can shrink your environmental footprint by opting for alternative building materials with recycled or renewable content. Here are some of the top green options to replace traditional landscaping sand.
Using crushed glass, reclaimed construction debris, and similar recycled matter keeps those materials out of landfills. Some companies can process discarded glass into a material similar to sand that is suitable for landscaping work.
Old concrete, bricks, asphalt, and porcelain contain silica that can be crushed and filtered to make sand. Instead of extracting new material, repurpose what’s already available.
Locally Sourced Sand
Choosing locally sourced sand is one of the most meaningful ways to reduce your impact. Getting material from nearby suppliers slashes transportation emissions and fuel usage. Your spending also supports the regional economy when you source locally.
Research sand and aggregate companies in your area. Also, make sure to inquire about their extraction methods to ensure sustainable quarry management.
You can also find some innovative sand alternatives made from agricultural leftovers. For instance, coconut coir from coconut hulls offers an organic, reusable choice.
Rice hull sand from burnt rice husks gives you another agricultural waste solution. Both absorb water efficiently and promote healthy drainage. Such renewables prevent the over-depletion of finite resources.
Sourcing Sand Ethically
Along with picking sustainable materials, it’s essential to vet suppliers thoroughly and partner with ethical operators. Here are some best practices for sourcing landscaping sand responsibly.
Insist on Transparent Supply Chains
Seek out suppliers willing to disclose extraction sites, transportation methods, environmental policies, and similar details. Audits of their processes should demonstrate responsible practices. Traceability and transparency will help ensure your sand comes from ethical sources.
Demand Fair Labor Conditions
Prioritize suppliers who actively provide safe working conditions and fair wages for miners. Unfortunately, labor rights violations still happen frequently in sand extraction. Choosing an ethical vendor means your business isn’t furthering human rights abuses.
Partner With Conservation Groups
Look for sand providers who collaborate with environmental groups around extraction sites. Conservation partnerships signal a real commitment to protecting biodiversity and rehabilitating land. This minimizes long-term damage from mining activities.
Say No to Illegal Operations
Be cautious of abnormally low-cost sand, as the deal could come from illegal and environmentally harmful mining. Do your homework to confirm suppliers follow all regulations and permit requirements. Support legal operators using responsible practices.
Putting Eco-Friendly Sand Into Action
Switching to sustainable landscaping sand doesn’t just benefit the environment — it can also enhance your business. Here are some tips for smoothly incorporating these earth-friendly materials.
Educate Clients on the Options
Many clients only know traditional sand choices and may be unfamiliar with available sustainable alternatives. Discuss the environmental upsides and explain how recycled, locally sourced, or renewable sands align with eco-landscaping principles.
Talk Up the Environmental Benefits
Promote sand made from recycled glass or organic waste as a way to reduce waste and emissions. Quantify the impact — highlight how many tons of material were reused or kept from landfills. Advertise locally sourced sand as a money saver and pollution reducer.
Emphasize Quality and Performance
Assure clients the eco-friendly sand meets the technical specifications required for their project while also being better for the environment. Stress contractor-tested performance and suitability as a building material.
Calculate and Promote Long-Term Savings
While some green sands may cost more initially, highlight lifecycle savings from lower transportation. Also, local sands support the community’s economy, while recycled materials avoid landfill fees. Leverage these angles to justify any price premiums for sustainable choices.
Source Your Eco-Friendly Landscaping Sand from Barclay Earth Depot
Everyone wants a gorgeous, functional landscape. And if the planet can be protected in the process, even better. As a landscaper, you have an opportunity to make a real impact through your choices of materials.
With a little due diligence to find eco-friendly landscaping sand options, you can reduce the damage to our planet while expanding your client base with the many people who share the same goals.
Barclay Earth Depot supplies high-quality aggregates that have all been sourced using ethical practices. So, if you want to do your part to protect our planet while getting the best landscaping sand for your projects, contact us today at 941.841.1681 or online.