Alternatives to Sand Bags

Written by brenda priddy | 13/05/2017
Alternatives to Sand Bags
There are several alternatives to sand bags. (sacs de sable image by Jerome Dancette from

Sandbags have been used for many years for several different reasons. Sandbags protect construction sites while they are in construction, they protect low areas from flooding, houses from collapsing under water weight, landslides from occurring and water from entering buildings. However, sandbags are messy and heavy. Because of this, many companies now make alternatives to sandbags. These alternatives provide effective solutions to a variety of problems.

Cross-Linked Polyacrylamide

Polyacrylamide is a polymer chemical formed from acrylamide which is highly absorbent. When polyacrylamide is cross-linked, it forms into beads that absorb liquid quickly and become dense and strong. These bags have many uses, including flood protection, flood control, construction site protection (so that the site can stay dry), landslide protection and soaking up spills. These bags are beneficial because they weigh less than sandbags and take up less storage space.

Vinyl Water Bags

Vinyl water bags are another alternative to sandbags. While these bags will not soak up water, they create an excellent barrier against flooding, landslides and other water problems. The vinyl bags collapse flat and fill quickly when needed. All that is inside the bag is water, which makes them non-toxic and safe for use everywhere. Some water bags even have a specialised polymer-activated water inside them that kills any bacteria present in flood water. After the flood recedes, simple empty the water inside the bags to kill bacteria and eliminate the difficult process of hauling heavy bags away from the disaster site.

Sodium Acrylate

Bags filled with sodium acrylate also make excellent alternatives to sand bags. These bags weigh very little when uninflected, around 600g. When the bags come into contact with water, they quickly absorb the water and seal the area from water leaks. The bags expand in such a way that if they are stacked before inflation, they create an almost impenetrable barrier after inflation. This makes them ideal for flood and landslide protection.

Absorbent Pillows

Absorbent pillows are another alternative to traditional sandbags. There are several different brands of absorbent pillows, but they essentially work the same way. These pillows operate similarly to the sodium acrylate bags. These bags do not work as well as flood barriers, but rather are designed to clean up flood and spilt water after the fact. Once the sheets or pillows are laid on the water, the bags quickly fill to absorb the liquid. This is highly useful for clearing an area of water quickly and efficiently.

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