Taking measures to reduce fabrication waste
April 26, 2011
A year after Planet Granite of Colorado Springs, CO, started to strategize ways to reduce its impact on the environment, it successfully teamed up with a local asphalt company to have its stone waste products removed - ultimately saving money and avoiding the landfill. This is just one step the company has taken towards being green as well as reducing its budget to remain on a successful business path.
“I come from an environmental background, so I like to use different avenues for reducing our waste stream and landfill footprint, as well as to save money and do the right thing,” said Dan McDonald of Planet Granite. “Last April, we were in a little bit of a lull, so I was thinking of how to stay busy and active. I called about 80 different asphalt companies in southern Colorado. I thought there surely is a way to use our scrap stone for aggregate to fill for asphalt.”
Of all the companies that were contacted, only one, Lafarge, responded positively, explained McDonald. “They sent down a QC [Quality Control] guy and collected buckets of waste of different types of stones and ran tests on them to get absorption rates and abrasion rates,” he said. “The results weren’t great, but not bad. This was in the background for about a year.”
It was not until the beginning of this year that McDonald heard from Lafarge again. “This January, I received an e-mail from the company saying that upper management was buzzing about green stewardship,” said McDonald. “This past year, they had a program set up with Waste Management to collect shingles from old complexes and construction sites. Instead of going into the landfill, they are using them as filling for asphalt. They thought that they could do the same with granite.”
McDonald explained that Planet Granite has a 10-yard container in its storage yard where the scrap stone is discarded. “It’s just stone - granite, quartz, marble and limestone,” he said. “Once every week, they pick up our scrap material. We pay the driver drive time, and they stockpile it there. They have a huge crusher.”
Once the stockpile is large enough, Lafarge crushes the granite pieces down to the size they need to make a product with recyclable asphalt content. Lafarge ran tests on different asphalt content to see how much oil they need. “Granite doesn’t take that much petroleum to bond, so in a sense, it is definitely a win-win situation,” he said. “It saves us money from going into the landfill, but it is also being utilized in a whole other arena. It took us a year to get to this point. At the end of this year, we can look to see what savings we have had with our waste bill.
“Planet Granite has always had a little idea of staying green and being responsible,” McDonald went on to say. “We are doing a little research with the Natural Stone Council. One thing that we are trying to do is to stay ahead of the curve and remain viable. If you work hard enough, someone will listen.”