Why Recycle Granite?
In the French town of Amiens, about one hundred miles north of Paris, stands one of Europe’s larger and more elaborate Gothic cathedrals. Like its contemporaries, Amiens Cathedral is constructed almost entirely of stone –50,000 tons of it. That’s a lot of stone.
Each year, American stone quarrying and fabrication industries produce almost 200 million tons of stone waste, enough to build the cathedral at Amiens four thousand times!
In the Chicago area alone, granite counter top fabricators annually discard 40,000 to 50,000 tons of stone because they cannot find a market for the scrap that they produce. “The greatest environmental concern in the stone industry,” according to the Natural Stone Council, “is stone itself.”
Then & Now
Historically, the stone byproducts of quarrying and fabrication have been sold, if at all, in crushed or pulverized form. Until now, stone scrap was of little use unless it could be re-processed for sale as construction fill, road-bed fill, landfill infrastructure, or as a component in the manufacture of cement or brick. As a result, almost all of the industry’s stone waste finds its way to American landfills.
The firm that figures out how to turn scrap stone into useful products, discovers a sufficiently large and localized market for these products, and produces them at attractive prices, will enjoy considerable competitive advantage and do the environment a lot of good.