“Granite Guilt” and the Birth of Earth Stone Midwest
As a major innovator in recycling natural stone, the President of Euro Marble and Granite reveals, “Many of our clients once avoided using granite because of ‘granite guilt’ and the environmental impact of a wasted product. By recycling all of these wasted materials, we eliminate ‘granite guilt’ altogether.”
Earth Stone Midwest began its life in 2008 because the management at Euro Marble and Granite recognized a market opportunity that was being created as new technology made it feasible to process scrap stone from counter top fabrication into salable and profitable products. The opportunity arises because counter top fabrication is an inherently wasteful process. The process begins in quarries all over the world, where stone is mined and cut into slabs, the raw material of the counter top fabrication business. The slabs are then shipped to local distributors who sell them to fabricators. At the fabricating facility slabs are cut to size to fill orders from end-users or contractors who buy the finished counter tops for use in kitchens and bathrooms, lobbies and boardrooms.
Counter top fabrication is an inherently wasteful process
Counter tops are not designed to conform to the dimensions of stone slabs, but rather to conform to the dimensions of the rooms in which they will be used. As a result, there is waste. In the image on the right you can see a slab of granite that has been marked with masking tape for cutting. Everything within the taped marks will be delivered to the end-user. Everything outside of the taped marks is scrap. Much of the scrap comes off of the cutting machines in fairly large pieces, but the pieces are odd-shaped and rarely large enough for use as material for additional counter tops. On average, about one third of each quarried slab goes in the dumpster. What goes in the dumpster eventually winds up in the landfill. Hauling charges can add up to thousands of dollars per month.
Earth Stone Midwest offers “green” stone products with optimal appearance and durability
Earth Stone Midwest collects scrap from local granite fabricators, diverting the scrap from the landfill and turning it into salable thin brick, tile, and paving products. At Earth Stone’s facility in Schiller Park, Illinois the scrap is sorted for size and color, then processed in stamping and finishing machines that turn the odd-shaped scraps into uniform tiles suitable for an abundance of applications. The finished product is then sold either to retailers or direct to end-users who incorporate Earth Stone products into a wide variety of construction and landscaping projects.
Earth Stone Midwest refabricates more than 50 types of granite waste into elegant thin brick, pavers, tiles, and veneers. Some of our notable Chicago area clients include Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT), the Bridgeport Art Center, Wildberry Pancakes and Café, and Kai Zan Japanese restaurant.
Pictures, top to bottom: A granite distributor’s warehouse, granite slab marked for cutting, scrap granite, recycled pavers ready for finishing