Green Choices in Marble, Terrazzo, Slate, and Other Natural Stone – Recycled Glass Terrazzo and Tumbled Marble

It seems like choosing natural stone can have multiple effects towards a green environment. There are two stone surfaces that come to mind that use reclaimed material, which embody a green approach starting out of the gate.

Glass terrazzo is terrazzo made with recycled pieces of glass, instead of marble chips. According to an article in Healthcare Building Ideas, June/July 2005 this surface has a lot of targeted benefits. For one, it does have outgassing problems of other materials built or treated with toxic chemicals. And, because the porosity of glass is almost zero, a sealer (wax, or otherwise) is not required, per the manufacturer. The maintenance of this surface would be very simple; every so often a small team of specialists would refinish the surface by mildly wet grinding, with just a small amount of water and abrasive material. That’s it. Daily maintenance would be performed with a neutral cleaner. On top of the above, the main point of glass terrazzo is that 75 percent of the floor comes from recycled glass diverted from a landfill. Build into the obvious benefit of this, the additional cost of transportation to the landfill, and maintenance of the landfill this diversion affects. Glass terrazzo is a nice surface for it’s users, in more than one way – the article also points out the cost of maintenance as being among the lowest in relative terms to similar surfaces used in health care building projects. I’ll include a related link to the Green Guide For Health Care website here for extra information. It should be noted that ‘regular’ terrazzo uses marble chips, which also are reclaimed from small otherwise unusable pieces for building.

Another material that has a greening benefit just by choosing it, is tumbled marble and mosaic tile. These stones are mostly made from the broken pieces of larger stones and tiles. In a previous post, I wrote about mosaics being one of the earliest examples of recycling and/or conserving building materials to make a beautiful and durable flooring or decorative surface. Tumbled marble comes from the same tradition. It is usually tiles or blocks of marble, limestone, or travertine that have been antiqued by being tumbled in a drum. It is hard to know why or when this practice was initiated, if it was out of necessity to re-use broken tiles, or simply a designer’s caprice in search of a hot new trend. The default benefit to the environment is that the broken pieces are used; every bit of the quarried stone is put to use. In this case, they are put to use in a beautiful and artistic way.

Our delight at Sungloss Marble Restoration in servicing homeowners, condominium associations, hotel management, banks, or developers with glass terrazzo or tumbled marble, limestone, or travertine lobbies, kitchens, bathrooms, or other floors and walls, is in our ability to offer affordable maintenance. Our cleaning, sealing, and refinishing will keep the cost of maintenance down, so your pocketbook is happy, and so is the environment.