It may seem like the Earth provides a limitless supply of sand; from the vast deserts of the Sahara to the many beaches at every shoreline. But not all sands are created equally, and the Earth is running low on some of the most valuable types of sands.
Sand is comprised of weathered rocks and minerals that are unique to the specific area where it is found, and that’s why some sands offer better properties for particular manufacturing processes than others.
The most highly-sought after sands are coarser than what we’d find in the Sahara Desert. These types of sands are usually dredged from riverbanks, but Earth only has so many rivers to pick from, and dredging can impose a negative impact on the environment to boot.
One of the best ways humankind can work around this problem is to develop environmentally-friendly alternatives to sand mining. This means finding new substances for creating concrete, glass, and other vital materials used in construction and manufacturing around the globe.