Sustainable Stone: Is Green in the Process or the Product?
These days everyone is trying to market their product as "green," from wood to roof tiles. With most products, there is an applicable certification system that assures a consumer that the product they are examining is in fact green. For example, most people in the building industry would agree that wood certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is actually green. They assure that the wood has been harvested in a sustainable way, without damaging forests or our fragile ecosystem.
We at buildaroo.com always advocate looking deeper at products that are labeled green. So, the next time you decide to refit your countertops with granite, be sure to examine the process by which it was extracted. A good company will follow the local regulations set for mining, and those documents should be a matter of public record. If you can, find a location with strict regulations and buy stone from that source. Good miners will make sure that their mining does not contaminate nearby bodies of water such as lakes and streams. They will also restore the topsoil, making sure that any nutrient deficiencies are corrected, and replant any flora that was destroyed in the mining process.
So, is stone green? It all depends on the process by which it was mined, and whether the miner took care to restore the environment from which the stone was taken. The government regulates this, but it's up to you to find a well regulated area and a trustworthy miner that follows state regulations! Looking for a solid example? Check out Oklahoma's Department of Mines for a good example of environmentally friendly mining regulations.
What do you think? Will the process of stone mining ever be sustainable? Be sure to let us know in the comments!