Welcome to AFS-FIRST, your source for information on recycling foundry sands and other metalcasting byproducts. AFS-FIRST is an independent non-profit association that is the successor organization to Foundry Industry Recycling Starts Today (FIRST). The organization exists to educate foundries, end users, government agencies and other stakeholders about the benefits of using foundry byproducts.
- Promotion of the reduction, reuse and recycling of metalcasting industry byproducts through education, research and information dissemination;
- Development of educational partnerships with governmental agencies, universities, industry associations and other corporations;
- Conducting and sponsoring research in cooperation with governmental agencies, universities, industry associations and other corporations.
Foundry sand is sand that is used to make molds and cores in the metal casting process. Although generally recycled many times internally by the foundries, about 6-10 million tons of foundry sand are discarded each year. For more information, visit the Intro to Foundry Sand webpage.
As part of its commitment to environmental excellence, the metalcasting industry has established a goal of achieving 50 percent reuse and recycling of foundry sands by 2015. AFS conducted a baseline survey of sand reuse practices revealing that foundries were recycling and reusing 28 percent of discarded sands in non-landfill applications. The activities, tools and resources described on this website, as well as the links to off-site resources, are all part of a coordinated program to achieve the 50 percent goal.
AFS-FIRST is leading the industry’s efforts to promote foundry sand as a viable fine aggregate in a number of common applications. Foundry sand is one of the non-hazardous industrial materials that are the focus of intensive market development efforts by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The U.S. EPA estimates that the current level of foundry sand use in construction applications and manufactured soil results in the prevention of 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions and the saving of more than 200 billion BTUs. By doubling the amount of foundry sands reused by 2015, the stakeholder community will achieve measureable environmental improvements while moving the nation closer to a shared vision of sustainable materials management.
In January 2015, EPA released its final foundry sand risk assessment that concluded silica-based spent foundry sands are safe to use in soil-related applications.