The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

DB Export’s mission to save our beaches

DB Export has announced its mission to help save New Zealand’s beaches by producing a man-made sand product. The brewery was motivated by the knowledge that our beaches are retreating partly due to sand mining which occurs on some of our most beautiful beaches – DB Export is turning glass bottles that can’t be recycled into a sand substitute suitable for everyday use.

The resulting product, DB Export Beer Bottle Sand, is designed to lessen some of the impacts inflicted on NZ beaches by sand dredging. A case study about DB Export Beer Bottle Sand is available here.

Beach-dredged sand is a major component in New Zealand roading, pathways, commercial and residential construction, pipelaying, at-home DIY projects and even golf bunkers (1). The average person uses 200kgs of sand each year(1) in the way of consumables and infrastructure, the majority of which is dredged. Like many other natural resources, beach sand is non-renewable and dredging causes a myriad of environmental impacts including the destruction of natural beaches and their eco systems (dunes, wetlands), increased costal erosion, damage to sea life habitats and a reduction in protection from weather patterns such as tsunamis and storms(2). Due to over consumption and black market exploitation, two thirds of the world’s beaches are retreating.

Each year in New Zealand twenty seven percent of waste consumer glass is not recycled, due to soiling or incorrect disposal (3) and instead finds its way into landfill. DB Export is using glass destined for landfills to create its first instalment of DB Export Beer Bottle Sand and aims to make one hundred tonnes of sand substitute, the equivalent of more than half a million bottles.

“Our beautiful beaches are being dredged for its precious sand, which is used in many products and almost every construction project. DB Export Beer Bottle Sand is a simple initiative that we believe will have a big impact,” says Sean O’Donnell, DB Breweries’ Marketing Director.

“We can’t solve the problem alone but we knew we could do more to help. Our ambition is to help drive more recycling whilst looking out for the beaches which are an integral part of our Kiwi DNA. We’re proud to launch an initiative that can help us do our bit to protect our beaches for future generations,” adds O’Donnell.

Two types of sand will be made: the first a pure sand made of finely crushed bottles. With a particle size of between 0.4mm – 1.1mm, this can be used for golf bunkers, pipe bedding and sports field drainage among other purposes. The second type currently in-development is a sustainable concrete mixture solution made with DB Export’s project partner, NZ’s largest bagged concrete producer, DryMix. Both use DB Export Beer Bottle Sand as substitute for regular dredged sand and can be used for both consumer and industrial purposes.

Specially created DB Export Beer Bottle Sand Machines will visit major NZ cities so people can crush their beer bottles and see the sand that is created for themselves. To find a schedule of where the machines will be, head to

In 2015, DB Export created the world’s first commercially available biofuel with Gull NZ made from the waste product of the brewing process. The DB Export Beer Bottle Sand project looks to follow in its footsteps to make an impact in New Zealand and demonstrate our sustainability commitment to the world

  3. New Zealand Glass Recycling Rate hits new high and matches EU average for the first time, Glass Packaging Forum, Press Release 15/06/2015