Demand for sand in a variety of industries has led to the slow loss of sandy beaches around the world, a problem one company is addressing via a machine that grinds bottles down into glass sand substitute. The contraption comes from DB Export, which plans to send the beer-sourced sand to industries that would otherwise acquire it from beaches.
The contraptions are called the Beer Bottle Sand Machines, and they work by pulverizing beer bottles using small steel hammers spun at a very fast rate. The label is automatically pulled out via a vacuum, as is the silica dust; the end result is somewhere around 200 grams of ‘sand’ that doesn’t come from a beach.
The sand will eventually find its way back into the environment via things like commercial construction and road work. The company’s working on establishing partners who will accept the sand. There are two sides of benefits: on one side, beach-sourced sand is preserved on beaches instead of being used in projects; and secondly, less glass ends up in landfills.
The machines themselves can be placed in places where bottles of beer are commonly consumed; the drinker themselves inserts the empty bottom into a bottle-shaped slot and initiates the pulverization process — it only takes about five seconds to turn a bottle into sand.