Is stone and quartz ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly?
By Mark Ortiz, Stone Restoration Specialist
I personally want to thank all of you who have supported Perfect Granite Solutions and continue to refer our services. If this is your first time receiving my newsletters, let me tell you why I write them. I first started to write about Stone Education because this is what we continually need in the industry to promote and maintain stone and other surfaces in our homes. In early 2020 I was prompted to mix in my personal opinions on the deception of our leaders because so many people were, and are being impacted from lies on top of more lies. I try to write with some humor, snarkiness and most importantly, facts. Under Newsletters there are two categories: Stone and Opinion, for both stone education and your entertainment. I always love your comments and I also appreciate the ones that don’t necessarily agree with me. Enjoy and share.
Owner of Perfect Granite Solutions
I don’t remember when the green new world order became hip and something the human race made deals with. I grew up in the amazing state of Alaska where Global Warming and pollution wasn’t even on my radar. Spending the last 30 years in California, I’ve learned, or, possibly indoctrinated all about the heat rising, the smelt fish being threatened, the polluted oceans, the ozone layer depletion, the bastardly suv, and of course, the melting ice glaciers and becoming heart broken by the pics of the poor polar bears losing real estate. Now, I cannot tell you a lot about the first concerns, but I do have a little knowledge of polar bears because my brother in law studied the life of polar bears and lived on and off with polar bears in the northern glacial tundra over many years. And guess what? The bears are not crying about having a small ice pad to sunbathe on. They move around, eat fish, and feast on a delicious seal once in a while. And further facts, the polar bear population is increasing, not decreasing!
What Does Green Mean?
When you hear GREEN, what does that mean? Millinials, it used to mean greenbacks or dollars. Now, for most of us, we think green means keeping the planet healthy and not using wasteful or deadly products that wreak havoc on the earth. So, apparently, the most helpful thing us simple folk can do to be more green is participate in something called, recycling. Or for you who really don’t want to recycle without the guilt, you can give lots of money to foundations, for Carbon Credits. For you that don’t know what that means, it is when you don’t have to recycle or use less polluting machinery as long as you give money, lots of money, to a foundation that focuses on saving the planet. Ask Al Gore if you need to know where to start your membership today!
Recycle The Products You Use?
I remember when trash cans first had three options to throw away my garbage. Now, I couldn’t just toss it in the one can, called TRASH, I had to determine what type of plastic it was, or if it’s an organic item that decomposes easily, or if it is glass. (Glass was relatively easy for me to figure out.)
I felt so anti-green. Impatiently (or arrogantly), I just threw it all in one hole. The only person I can’t do that in front of is our daughter, because she happened to be born on earth day! Haha! Oh, here is our earth day daughter in Laguna Beach reluctantly letting me take this picture of her, but it was perfect timing for this newsletter.
I know some of my readers think I’m out of touch with the need to recycle plastic, but as I was writing this blog, I came across a sincere guy who was trying to help make a difference and noticed some horrific truths. He said in part, “ When an individual considers the fact that there’s a 600,000 square mile garbage patch in the Pacific and millions of pounds of plastic still pouring into the ocean every year, they are likely to freeze.”
(Sorry, my reference for the article wants you to subscribe, so I'm not including it. You can search USA today opinion page under the title 'Your plastic recyclables are getting shipped overseas' )
Is Stone and Quartz Environmentally Friendly?
Let’s talk about natural stone and engineered quartz! My favorite ‘green’ making topic. Did you know stone is the most green material you can use on your countertops? You think not? What if I told you its a greener product then all the new Quartz put on our kitchen counters? Would you believe me? Give me a chance to prove something to you. You know me, I like evidence, not just opinions.
If being greener = recycling, then how does stone and engineered quartz recycle?
The Formation Of Stone
Let’s get nerdy with geology. You see those beautiful mountains? When I daily admire the Colorado mountain range, I realize that it is a massive agglomeration of rock that was thousands of feet lower, and through intense geological plate movement, volcanoes and earthquakes, it rose to the height it is today. It wasn’t always there. As I walk down the lightly beaten baths on Mount Herman I pick up a small piece of quartz and wonder; how did this little piece of stone get here? Am I the first person in history to pick up this beautiful stone? How long has it been here? Decades? Centuries? A thousand centuries? I understand that this small rock is a part of that massive mountain, and not just that rock, but the sand I let sift through my fingers is a part of that large rock formation. But how?
The chorus from the kids song “Mountain in my Hand” (on the Only One Ocean CD by the Banana Slug String Band) explains it best: “I’ve got a mountain in my hand from the rain-washed land; down by the sea now is where I stand, with this mountain in my hand trying to understand; Oh, oh, wonderful sand.” You can sing it in any tune you want, no one is listening.
The Natural Recycling Process
Here’s the natural recycling process of stone (over millions (?) of years): Subsurface geological elements and force, produce stone, stone continues to form into mountains, mountains erode and wear from the elements turning into smaller rocks, the smaller rocks continue to erode into sand. Then massive new geological movement repeats itself creating the rocks and mountains and stones.
"Hey Geologists, don’t stone me, I’m just keeping it simple."
Do you notice the “green” recycling process? The stone never evaporates, never wears out, never decomposes, never takes lives, and never disappears. It remains a stone forever! No need to put it into a separate bin. It will always blend back into the earth in which it came from.
Now what about engineered quartz? Many people consider this is a green material, but is it? Let’s look at its formation. It’s called quartz because it is partially made up of naturally forming quartz, the same natural stone found in granite and other stone countertops. Combined with natural quartz is a larger quantity of product we frequently call, ‘resin’. Resin is a processed plastic. Plastics are used everywhere in life, and are very useful for making engineered quartz slab colors and patterns. But would the green police consider plastic as a green product good for the planet? I’ve done my kindergarten research and found out that a plastic water bottle takes an undetermined amount of years to break down into smaller pieces. Many would argue that plastic never decomposes! Consider this, modern engineered quartz counters have been installed in millions of our homes for about 15 years, and climbing.
Since we cannot decompose these materials quickly, or ever, to make any environmental impact, we are then told to be “protectors of the earth” by recycling!
Here’s My Conclusion To This Matter
Almost every element we use in our homes, does not decompose well and are not “helpful” for preserving the earth. If we really want to be “protectors of the earth” by recycling, then use the oldest and most recycled God given product on earth…Stone! Real Natural Stone!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to use only natural products, I mean, I am typing this on my iPad and not scratching it on a Moses stone pad. I do recommend Engineered Quartz products sometimes, but not if someone is looking for a true “Green” product.
Thank you for reading my newsletter! The PGS team appreciates your business and referrals during this one-of-a-kind unprecedented time in world history. And once we get over this so-called pandemic, we can get back to worrying about global warming, I mean, climate change, but I’m not sure what it will be called with the next administration, maybe ‘The Great Global Cool Down’?
“I‘ve always appreciated the earths resources, and creation in general. Even though I was born in Alaska, my deep appreciation for nature started when I began helping solve natural stone problems 30 years ago. Preservation also becomes a way of life for all of us who live in regions that capitalize on nature, such as here in Colorado where we opened up a new location. For the record, I’m not the typical “trash recycler” and I don’t feel bad about it. I, like many of you, am just aware of what I buy and use, keep my life-space clean, and continuously appreciate the earth given from our creator.”
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