What happens to an old granite countertop once it is replaced with a new one? What about the stone left over after a fabricator finishes a countertop? It is possible that a stone as beautiful as granite could end up in a landfill, but it is actually finding new life due, in part, to a push toward environmentally-friendly home design. Fabricators and installers are forming stronger relationships with recyclers, and more homeowners are choosing to recycle their granite instead of throwing it away. Deciding to recycle granite As one of nature’s hardest stones, granite is made to withstand the test of time. Generally, homeowners decide to purchase new granite countertops or other stone features when they are redesigning or renovating living spaces. Therefore, the majority of granite is in a decent condition before it is replaced. Often, stone fabricators and installers have relationships with recyclers and will make arrangements to haul away an old countertop when installing a new one. Some cities have recycling centers that will pick up materials such as granite and additional home improvement items. Charities that focus on home improvement and renovation will accept countertop donations. In the unlikely event that a fabricator cannot provide details, information about recycling programs is readily available online. Breathing new life into old stone Although it is rare, some companies will refurbish stone countertops and resell them at a reduced cost. This gives homeowners the opportunity to enjoy the luxury of granite even if they have limited budgets. Homeowners will most likely have to refurbish countertops purchased from charity outlet stores. Refurbishing requires carefully sanding the surface, sealing and polishing it before it is ready for use. Fabricators will also have remnants after making countertops from natural stone slabs. Across the nation, granite recyclers are accepting these unwanted pieces and transforming them into a wide variety of features. One of the most popular “reuses” for granite is stone pavers. Since stones have variations in color, striation and veining, recycled pavers can enhance the look of driveways and walkways. Recycled granite is also converted into tiles for outdoor patios, fountains, and fire pits. Of course, just because granite is recycled doesn’t mean it is only useful for outdoor living spaces. In fact, the granite remaining from countertop fabrication may end up as tile for flooring designs and backsplashes. Designers can use recycled stones cut into pieces as decorative facing features for wall applications, fireplace surrounds (pictured above) and even tops for tables and accent furniture. Along with the increases in home buying and selling is a renewed interest in remodeling and renovation to raise home values and beautify living spaces. Cities are embracing plans and programs that give their citizens the chance to go green while reducing the amount of materials designated for landfills. Homeowners looking for new granite countertops have options to not only recycle their old countertops, but also to recycle the surplus stone after installation. Instead of becoming trash, granite is being refurbished into treasure for the next generation of living spaces.