Sand has recently been recognized as a critical resource. Enormous quantities are used in concrete where it holds the cement together while replacing the expensive cement with (still) cheaper sand. Actually, the sand, together with gravel or other fillers known collectively as “aggregate” such as gravel, fibers or crushed concrete makes the concrete stronger. Plain cement is not as strong as cement with aggregate.

See the insightful and entertaining book by Vince Beiser called The World In A Grain, all about the history, commerce, economics and uses of sand.

See the recent article about our loss of usable sand.