The short answer is stone, sand and gravel. But that's just scratching the surface. It is the grains of sand that make up our roads and sidewalks. It is in the bricks and concrete blocks that make up the walls of our homes, schools and workplaces.
Aggregate also plays a lesser-known yet vital role in our water purification process and can even be found in pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, make-up, paint and paper among other products we use on a daily basis.
When you think about it, aggregate is quite literally the foundation of our economy and society – which is a very impressive accomplishment for something as small as a grain of sand.
Regardless of where we work, live and play - each of us uses stone, sand and gravel every day.
Just like food, where we choose to source the aggregate that builds our communities has consequences. Trucking gravel from long distances is expensive - both in terms of money and greenhouse gas emissions. Every extra kilometre is a cost to society.
Local aggregate pits and quarries are the responsible answer. Supply needs to be close-to-market, so it is vital that producers and communities work together to ensure a balanced approach to meeting the aggregate needs of Ontarians.
Demand for high-quality aggregate is growing, and new sources will be needed. That is why it is critical we all understand the facts about this vital industry.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there - but the evidence is indisputable. The aggregate industry is safe, clean, and environmentally responsible. Pits and quarries do not harm water quality or quantity. No chemicals are used in processing aggregate. Operators work hard to protect wildlife and species at risk.
Operators also work diligently with communities to minimize dust, noise and visual distractions on-site. Progressive and final rehabilitation is the law, and producers are committed to enhancing biodiversity and innovative after-uses of aggregate sites.
The aggregate industry works together with government and the public to build strong communities from the group up.