Are stone countertops eco-friendly?

May 17th, 2010 by Cathy Rust Leave a reply »

CaesarStone collection

The “greeness” of  stone counter tops is a conumdrum I have been wrestling with over the years. You can get LEED points for using stone countertops because of their benefits to indoor air quality. But generally speaking, in the true sense of the word, stone countertops are not green. Stone is a massively energy and water intensive product to produce. Producers tout its “natural qualities.” Stone may be natural, but that doesn’t mean that all natural things are safe or responsible to use. If that were the case you could argue that petroleum is a natural product too.

But let’s be realistic: A lot of us love stone countertops. They’re nice to look at, they’re sleek, they’re fairly easy to clean and they can last and last without fading and can, to a certain extent, be revived or refurbished when they get too rough looking. So, whether we like it or not, stone countertops are going to be around for awhile.

Cambria quartz countertop

That being said, if you could choose a more “eco-friendly” stone, assuming there is such a thing, you would look for stone manufacturers that are conscientious about how they produce their stone, and you would look for stone that stands up to the test of time. Some stones are more durable than others and will last for 100s of years if looked after properly. Others, like the prima dona marble counter tops in my kitchen, will be worn out within a few years unless they’re taken extra, really good care of.

If I were to choose a stone countertop I would choose a quartz-based product. Quartz is the fourth hardest natural substance and is one of the most common substances on earth. Quartz countertops have many advantages over granite, marble, soapstone and limestone countertops. Quartz countertops are:

  • low maintenance and never need to be sealed,
  • non-porous so they are stain and bacteria-resistant,
  • available in a wide variety of colours and edging finishes,
  • generally come with a 10 year warranty (check your manufacturer for specific warranty)
  • Greenguard approved — which is given to products with high indoor air quality value. These products don’t off-gas any harmful chemicals.

Quartz manufacturers:

Two quartz manufacturers stand out when it comes to their environmental commitments.

CaesarStone not only offers a line of products which includes up to 42% post-consumer recycled material, its manufacturing and transportation practices are central to its environmental commitment.

Cambria: According to its website, its quartz is mostly mined and manufactured in the USA. The company recycles 100% of water used in the manufacturing process and even recycles storm water captured on the property. Environmental best practices are used throughout the manufacturing and packaging of Cambria products and even within its head office. See here for more details.

To find a CaesarStone dealer near you, click here.

To find a Cambria dealer near you, click here.

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16 comments

  1. Morestone Granite & Marble Limited, locating in Xiamen China,
    is an integrated producer and supplier of natural sotne and engineered
    quartz stone countertop & vanitytop, wood base vanity and bathroom accessories for
    hotel revnovation and new construction project.

    Our Products
    —Custom produced to meet the requirement of each franchised brand hotel

    Natural Granite Countertop & Vanitytop
    Natural Marble Countertop & Vanitytop
    Engineered Quartz Countertop & Vanitytop
    Wood Base Vanity and cabinet
    Porcelain Sink
    Faucet
    Stainless Steel Towel Rack and Bar
    Stainless Steel Toilet Paper Holder

    Supplied material for many branded hotels
    Hilton Worldwide: Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Double Tree hotel, Embassy Suites hotel, Hilton Garden Inn hotel, Hampton Inn hotel, Homewood Suites hotel
    IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group): Crowne Plaza hotel, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn
    hotel, Holiday Inn Express hotel, Holiday Inn Resort, Staybridge Suites hotel and Candlewood Suites hotel
    Wyndham Hotel and Suites
    Marriott hotels: Courtyard hotel, Residence Inn hotel, Springhill suites
    hotel, Fairfield Inn and suites hotel, Towneplace Suites hotel

    Welcome to send inquiry for estimate or order purpose.

    For more
    http://www.chinacountertop.com

  2. corey says:

    Agree with Marty on the wood comment. But I agree with Cathy on selecting quartz these days.

  3. Cathy Rust says:

    Ian,
    I would love to get paid for the hours of research and writing I put into this blog, but other than the few dollars a month I receive from Google adwords, these words and opinions are all mine.
    Cathy

  4. ian says:

    article paid by quartz manufacturer(s) i guess 🙂

  5. Marty says:

    I have always wondered if there truly is such thing as a “green” countertop. For something to truly be green it’s source should be renewable. The only real renewable material is wood. Granite, marble and quartz doesn’t renew itself after being removed from the earth. It’s great those materials can be recycled and used again for other applications but their source still doesn’t renew itself. Food for thought I guess.

  6. Jake says:

    I never thought that there are such things as eco-friendly countertops. But now that you have shared about it, i understand already the importance of a functional and durable, yet stylish countertop to any household and to the environment. But isn’t Quartz too expensive?

  7. LR says:

    Unfortunately the granite-greedy people around the world are making our hills and mountains in India disappear. These unique mountain ranges were formed 300+ million years back. It has taken just a few decades to flatten them to ground level 🙁 I am very saddened and shocked by this. Please STOP using granite in your homes and office buildings. Please…..

  8. adolfo says:

    I guess the only arguement is that a stone countertop could be broken and thrown back into the earth. As for quartz it is an affective use of material that would be waste anyways and can be combined with other prodcuts to add to its greeness Cursos Marketing Online

  9. Cathy says:

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for adding Silestone and the link to their environmental commitment. Their quarry restoration efforts and recycled water use are impressive.

  10. Silestone is another leading quartz manufacturer with a firm committment to the environment.

  11. countertops says:

    I think it is important to distinguish between true stone like granites and marble and stone based products like quartz. Granite is not considered an eco friendly because it is taken from the earth in chunks and they are not replaceable. I guess the only arguement is that a stone countertop could be broken and thrown back into the earth. As for quartz it is an affective use of material that would be waste anyways and can be combined with other prodcuts to add to its greeness

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