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A HOME FOR YOUR RECYCLED SAND

Three case studies illustrates successful applications for casting sand
AFS-FIRST, SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS AND SHANNON WETZEL, SENIOR EDITOR, Source: MODERN CASTING, 2011
 
Setting up a sand recycling program in your metal casting facility can improve your environmental performance, reduce operating costs, create a positive image for your facility and reduce the need for virgin materials. However, setting up a program requires operational and financial planning.

Before marketing spent sand and other by products, such as furnace slag and dusts, a metal casting facility should know the materials' properties and composition in order to clear any regulatory hurdles and locate potential end-users. In addition to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory requirements, most state have their own environmental management agency that sets rules and regulations for the use of recycled by products. In Indiana, for example, sands are tested and then categorized for acceptable reuse applications. Typically, these regulations require testing using some type of leachate procedure. Leachable metal content and a variety of organics are typically built into each state's protocol. Metal casting facilities remain responsible for the material, cradle-to-grave, or as Mike Lenahan, president of Resource Recovery Corp., Coopersville, Mich., puts it, cradle-to-cradle.

"Most foundry sand is cleaner than native farm soils," Lenahan said." In most cases, iron, steel or aluminium casting facilities should not have to worry about their material being hazardous. Some brass and bronze casting facilities would have potential concern if they are pouring leaded alloys,"

Once you have determined your spent sand is permitted for use in your state, make an appraisal of the quantities of reusable material routinely available and your current costs for processing and disposing of the material, such as landfill tipping fees, onsite handling costs, cartage, and other waste management fees, such as container rental costs.

Potential users of spent sand often require large volumes of sand that can be delivered as needed. Small metal casting facilities have unique challenges when it comes to recycling their materials. Some may find it best to combine similar by products from other nearby facilities on a single project. If you do combine materials with other metal casters, make sure you know there is oversight relative to regulatory compliance for other facilities.

Forming a beneficial reuse program has its own associated fees beyond the regulatory schematic, such as costs for testing and permitting, handling and hauling, and material preparation, such as screening the sand. If you are combining or commingling your by products, starting a beneficial reuse program will most likely require segregating materials, since end-users typically maintain cleanliness and gradation requirements for each specific end-use.
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