Stone World recently had the opportunity to sit down with Valentin Tijeras, Cosentino’s global vice president of product, and Santiago Alfonso, vice president of communication and corporate reputation, to discuss the company’s commitment to improving upon their products in the best interest of human health and wellness, as well as being environmentally conscious. After three years of research and development, Cosentino introduces HybriQ+ technology, an innovative new process that significantly reduces the presence of crystalline silica and replaces it with a hybrid formula made up of mineral and reused raw materials.

“We have been working very hard for the last three years thinking about how to reinvent ourselves,” explained Tijeras. “We wanted to make a new generation product. We challenged ourselves to make a quartz with as little silica as possible. We have a funny saying here [in Spain], ‘It’s like making paella without rice.’

“We wanted it to be with the same quality standards, and we wanted to keep the same look and feel,” Tijeras went on to say. “We needed to keep it at a competitive cost. We incorporated as much of the new technology with the old.”

Both Tijeras and Alfonso emphasized that there were two important components that were considered when researching and developing the HybriQ+ technology. “We wanted to make the product in the most responsible and affordable way, and with as many sustainable materials as possible from locations closest to our factory that have a smaller carbon footprint,” explained Tijeras. “[Also], we wanted to use renewable energy and recycled water. 100% of the energy used to produce the HybriQ+ technology is from renewable resources, and 99% of the water is recycled.

“It doesn’t mean that quartz wasn’t safe, but if you don’t take the right safety measures, it can be a challenge,” Tijeras went on to say. “We know that sometimes it is difficult for people to take the right measures and use the appropriate equipment, so we wanted to make the safest product possible. We replaced the silica powder with other raw materials that don’t contain this component. We have had to change all the chemistry of the product and all the processes, which is why it was such a long process. It not only took a lot of time and resources, but it also cost a lot of money. But we are not overcharging our customers. We think we are creating a new industry standard. It is an investment for us in a healthier technology. It is part of our company DNA to do better. It was a challenge for our entire company. Can you imagine our research department when we told them we are going to change everything?”

Alfonso reiterated Cosentino’s commitment to green manufacturing, sustainability and creating the healthiest environment for its employees and customers. “I think the main good thing that makes HybriQ+ relevant is the safety aspect for employees, as well as the sustainability point of view,” he said. “The idea is to make a safer and more sustainable product. As a leader in the industry, we have made a commitment to the ‘new normal’ in the sector.”

According to Alfonso, by June of this year, almost 100% of Cosentino’s Silestone products will be made with the HybriQ and HybriQ+ technologies, as well as all of its new collections moving forward. ”More and more customers are asking us what we do with our waste,” said Tijeras. “How do we take care of our environment at the quarries? Do we recycle our water? Do we use renewable energy?  It’s going to become a standard for everyone.”