Is Granite An Eco-friendly Choice For Kitchen Countertops?

DIY Network

Kitchen countertops are manufactured from a whole variety of materials these days, but granite remains a premium choice without equal. However, premium and sustainability are not always mutually inclusive by any means, so we need to be more aware of granite’s impact on the environment first, before deciding whether or not it is an ecofriendly material for kitchen countertops.

There are Degrees of Eco-Friendliness

Before we discuss the environmental impact of granite, it must be understood that there are several parameters of sustainability, and even some of the most well-known, green products cannot meet every one of those standards. Granite falls in the same category as a material for construction and interior décor, given that there are both positive and negative factors associated with granite’s sourcing, processing, installation, and long-term usage.

Exactly How Safe/Unsafe are Granite Countertops for the Environment?

It is best to state facts as they are and let consumers decide whether they wish to use granite kitchen countertops inside their homes or not. On that note, we are going to discuss key points that should help our readers make an informed decision.

Granite Renewability – None of the natural stones are renewable, so granite is a finite material just like them, which cannot exactly be recycled back into usage.

Granite Degradability – Sealed granite countertops last for a very long time before they might need to be discarded. The best part about these natural stones at that point is the very fact that they are natural stones. As long as the slab was not infused with harmful chemicals at the time of processing, it will simply become one with nature eventually, post-natural or artificial degradation.

Granite Sourcing and Slab Manufacturing – Mining granite from stone quarries has become a lot less damaging for the environment lately, but it isn’t an ecofriendly process even today. Massive electrical energy and water-based equipment are used to power and cool those mining/manufacturing machines that extract and shape natural granite slabs into useable materials for kitchen countertops.

Transportation – Granite should always be sourced from local quarries because it drastically reduces the environmental impact of granite transportation. Cross-country transportation of heavy rocks is a bad idea for both the environment and your budget.

Installation – Environmentally conscious natural stone fabricators like the World Stone Group have made the whole process of granite kitchen countertop installation a lot safer than it used to be. This was achieved by using acetone and silicon-based binder that has a very low potential toxicity for humans and the environment in general. They have made granite countertop installations significantly more sustainable today, as the release of volatile organic compounds and harmful chemical dust have either been lowered or eradicated completely.

Additional Reasons as to Why Granite is Considered to be a Relatively Green Construction Material?

Despite the negative environmental impacts of quarrying, processing, and transporting these heavy natural stones over long distances, there are several other reasons as to why the natural stone is also eco-friendly in many ways. For example, sealed kitchen countertops made from granite are easy to clean with any green soap and water, eliminating the need to release harmful, chemical cleaners into the water and soil.

Granite countertops also last for multiple decades with very little maintenance, if not longer. This means that once you install one of these, you will likely never need to replace it! Their natural, long lifespan and durability make them an even better option than most recyclable materials. Even recyclable materials come with a limit on how many times they can be recycled, which is often a lot shorter time period, as compared to how long granite lasts. Even though granite cannot be wholly recycled, older slabs can always be broken down into smaller, stronger pieces for usage in other sectors of construction.

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