When comparing tile or stone products to other types of wall or floor coverings, worrying about sustainable wood sources or harmful VOC emissions doesn’t come to mind because stone is a natural product. However, it’s not the materials in question, it’s how these natural materials are obtained. Today, the demand for sustainable tile and stone products is growing in response to demand from consumers who are concerned about only using eco-friendly materials.
Impact on the Environment
In the past, mining stone, clay and sand from quarries has had a negative impact on the environment. Land is disturbed, energy is used and mining operations have a reputation for polluting the air and surrounding water supply. However, the stone product industry has become more sophisticated and is addressing and working to minimize these environmental impacts.
Through industry efforts:
- Waste and resources used are being minimized.
- Water recycling and rainwater collection is being used for mining purposes.
- Discharged wastewater contains lower concentrations of heavy metals.
- Work is being done to reduce emissions in the air and to protect workers from inhaling harmful pollutants.
- Owners of quarries and mining sites are required to have an environmental remediation plan and are responsible for rehabilitating the land they use.
Through these efforts, more tile and stone manufacturers are moving toward answering the demands for more sustainable tile and stone products that are affordable to the public.