A clear NO is a short and simple answer to whether sand is biodegradable or not. It was once a hefty chunk of rock that eventually deteriorated into a large number of sand-like particles. And anything that is biodegradable must have once lived.
Sand is non-biodegradable despite the fact that some living organisms, like lichens, can project filaments between crystal particles of rocks, eventually breaking the crystalline bonds; it does not help sand. Instead, it triggers the formation of sand.
Biodegradable materials are able to decompose, particularly into non-toxic products, due to the activities of living creatures like microorganisms. Hence, sand is not “bio-degraded.” It’s “enviro-degraded.”
Initially, sand used to be rock. Millenniums of temperature, water, weather, freeze/thaw, and pounding against other rocks have crushed it to minute “rocks” known as grains of sand.
The granules can be pulverized to a powder under certain circumstances, but most of the time, they accumulate in concentrations. As a result, it makes them resilient to even the mild forces of nature.
In a nutshell, It’s all ROCK. Visit a beach. You might get your answer!
Why Is Sand Not Biodegradable?
A chemical that cannot break down or decompose spontaneously and causes pollution is referred to as non-biodegradable waste. They may stay in this biosphere for a very long time without degrading, which would pose a serious threat to the ecosystem.
Examples of non-biodegradable garbage include polystyrene, sand, plastics, poisonous chemicals, metal, aluminum cans, tires, etc. It can take decades and eons for non-biodegradable garbage to break down. Herein, sand has similar features. It does not break down even after decades.
They may be seen lying around as litter in parks, streams, or rivers resulting in the accumulation of non-biodegradable garbage in massive volumes throughout numerous urban areas. But first, let’s comprehend what exactly biodegradation is.
What Is Biodegradation?
Fungi, bacteria, and other biological creatures break down substances as part of the biodegradation process. Biodegradation occurs naturally. Typically, materials are reduced to their individual molecules after completing biodegradation.
Consequently, waste and hazard management depends heavily on the microbial degradation of waste materials and chemical waste. Risk assessors and waste managers need to identify the appropriate strategies and protective measures for the management of chemicals and products by understanding the biodegradation properties of poisonous or dangerous substances.
Composition of Sand
Sand, which is coarser than gravel and finer than silt in size, is a mixture of chunks of rock grains and granular elements. It measures 0.06 mm to 2 mm in size.
Sand is primarily composed of silicate minerals and granular silicate rock. Due to its remarkable weather resistance feature, quartz is usually the most prevalent mineral here. Other notable rock-forming minerals found in the sand are amphiboles and micas.
However, from a high level, the majority of the sand on the beach is composed of gray or tan quartz and feldspar. Other heavy minerals, such as tourmaline or zircon, can also be found in the sand in smaller quantities. The most prevalent component in sand, however, is quartz.
Approximately 65 percent of all terrestrial rocks are composed of feldspar, which is the mineral group that is most prevalent on the surface of the planet. Sand has traces of feldspar as well.
Can We Use Sand in Composting?
The question may seem absurd, yet it is a valid one. Sand can be added to compost. Nonetheless, you must select a tried-and-true ratio for the mixture. If one ingredient is larger than the typical ratio, it could not work as well as you had anticipated.
Bear in mind that not all sand can be composted, though.
For example, sand with traces of metal or brass should not be composted. These substances may be harmful to the soil, which defeats the point of fertilizer.
Additionally, too much sodium and lime may also be harmful to your plants. Hence, it’s best to stay away from them while looking for sand to add to your compost heap.
Application of Sand in Daily Life
After air and water, sand is the third most utilized resource on earth. Not surprisingly, sand is used to produce several items we use on a daily basis. Here are a few of the illustrations.
- Mobile devices
- Cards of credit and debit
- Metal components
- Commercial structures
Is Sand Toxic To The Environment?
Sand is a resource that is accessible to all, simple to obtain, and difficult to manage. Currently, it is one of the poorest controlled natural resources in several regions of the world. Sand exactly is not toxic to the environment. However, sand mining is.
People will continue to undermine ecosystems, produce pollution, and possibly evict thousands of individuals from their residences if sand is not extracted and utilized responsibly.
Sand, gravel, and other materials can cause environmental issues if extraction rates outpace deposition rates.
Sand extraction from streams and coastal ecosystems has major environmental effects, including shrinking deltas, coastal and river erosion, salinization of coastal aquifers, changes in land use, air pollution, floods, groundwater reserves, threats to freshwater, threats to marine fisheries, destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity.
Can Sand Degrade In Nature?
Generally, shrink. Although sand particles do not “decay” in the sense that the word is used in radioactive decay, they could get reduced by weathering processes, depending on their chemical structure and current environment. Some, however, expand by accumulating new material on their faces.
So the query here is analogous to asking what “rocks” decay into.
It basically breaks down into finer quartz grains and clay particles. Most of the time, coarse-grain quartz inevitably turns into the silt. However, glaciers have been known to reduce quartz to loess (clay-sized particles that are blown by the wind).
Where To Dispose Of Excessive Sand?
There are instances when you may have extra materials on board. If you are looking for appropriate save disposal options, here are a few.
1. Curbside Collection
You can place the bagged sand next to your trash can after sealing it and labeling it. Nevertheless, it’d be better if you didn’t mix it in with the other trash. Make sure it stays in a visible spot on your curb.
2. Deposit for a landfill
You can transport the sand to your neighborhood dump, depending on how much of it you wish to get rid of. Sand that weighs more than 45 pounds will be accepted at landfills. You might have to fork over a modest fee, though.
3. Construct a Sandbox
You can prepare your surplus material for a sandbox. The best thing is that by the time you consider replacing the sandbox, you might need to refill your garden’s supply of sand. As a result, you can repurpose it in your garden. Of course, you’ll also need to get it garden-ready.
Wrapping It Up
Sand is basically construction waste. Consequently, wastes from construction and demolition (C&D) must be handled and disposed of separately.
These wastes are delivered to the authorized recycling and trash processing facilities after being collected at certain locations chosen by the municipal corporations. Later, they are used again in infrastructure projects.
Being a resource, sand is useful and significant in our day-to-day lives. However, proper use of resources can reap benefits instead of harming the environment.