Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Sand in the metal casting process

Using sand in the metal casting process

If you use sand for metal casting, you will create dust from handling and storing it. Sand that you have used for casting may also be contaminated with metal or with chemicals used to bind it for the cast.

Avoid causing air and noise pollution

You must ensure that using sand does not cause air pollution. You must also not cause noise pollution from deliveries or handling of sand on your site.

Air quality

Deal with hazardous waste safely

Sands you use to produce castings made from certain non-ferrous metals may have hazardous properties, due to them containing toxic material such as:

  • aluminium lead cadmium copper arsenic
  • sand treatment chemicals

If the sand you use has hazardous properties, you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

Good practice

You should:

  • reclaim sand to save money and to reduce the amount of waste you produce
  • practise good housekeeping techniques, such as keeping building doors closed to contain noise from sand reclamation operations
  • regularly maintain your extraction system to ensure it works efficiently
  • keep reclaimed sand in sealed storage areas or silos to prevent it causing air pollution
  • cover sand when you transport it to reduce dust
  • The construction industry may be able to recycle waste sand that you cannot reuse in the foundry. It can be used in the production of cement, asphalt and concrete blocks.

Ask your trade association for further information. Find information on trade associations on the Trade Association Forum website

The Waste and resources action programme has produced guidance on using sand in foundries.

WRAP: Using and reclaiming foundry greensand

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