What Are the Environmental Impacts of Stone Countertops?

Now more than ever, there is a focus on being kind to the earth, so people are more apt to buy products that qualify as “green.”

Many people are curious about the eco-friendliness and environmental impacts of stone countertops, which is why we wrote this article. Just because natural stone countertops come from the earth doesn’t mean they’re 100 percent green.

What Is “Green”?

A wide array of factors plays into whether a product qualifies as green. You should know a product’s

  • origin,
  • manufacturing process,
  • means of transportation,
  • packing and installation processes,
  • required maintenance, and
  • disposal methods.

Stone Countertop Origins

Natural stone is a finite resource, which means it is not renewable. The amount there is within the earth right now is all that we’re going to get—at least for millions of years. But don’t worry. Take granite, for example—even though humans have been using it for centuries, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the earth’s supply.

Manufacturing

Natural stone producers don’t actually make natural stone—instead, they quarry them from the ground in the form of giant blocks, then cut them into different shapes for various uses. The biggest environmental impact comes from the act of quarrying because it calls for heavy machinery that runs on gasoline. Cutting the blocks of natural stone also calls for machinery, and this machinery runs on electricity and copious amounts of water.

Means of Transportation

Many natural stone slabs are imported from foreign countries. While slabs are available from local quarries, those are oftentimes more expensive. So, because natural stone must be shipped to the US, the greenhouse gas emissions from shipment methods must be considered.

Packing and Installation

Suppliers typically ship natural stone slabs on reusable pallets, so waste is no issue. But retailers must cut the slabs into specific shapes, and this causes a lot of stone dust and organic compounds that can harm the atmosphere. But if you work with a reputable countertop supplier like Marble Granite World, you can rest assured that they always observe health and safety regulations during this process and reduce the environmental impact significantly. They also use nontoxic adhesives during installation, which makes for a smaller carbon footprint.

Required Maintenance

Maintenance of natural stone countertops doesn’t involve much. To clean the surface, all you need is soap and water, and to maintain their integrity, they need to be resealed periodically.

Disposal

Natural stone countertops are known for how long they last. Even if they sustain damage, they can be repaired. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to replace your natural stone countertop, but if you do, your old materials can be repurposed in your own home or in someone else’s.

Leading a Green Lifestyle

If you’re interested in creating as little environmental impact as possible, then natural stone countertops are a great choice for your home. Contact us at Marble Granite World to learn more.