For instance, in the creation of ECO, Cosentino advanced its environmental standards to include: minimizing dust emissions in all phases of production; purifying 99% of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) factory emissions; optimizing water usage through water reclamation processes that allow the company to use 94% recycled water in production processes, and pursuing quarry restoration and mountain reforestation under strict stewardship programs.
In addition, all of the packaging and marketing materials created for the promotion of ECO are eco-friendly and made from recycled materials, Marquez notes.
DuPont has begun a sustainability journey of its own. “We are striving to continually improve and update our green offerings,” says McGeehan.
DuPont recently introduced four new colors in its Zodiaq Terra Collection, which all contain at least 25% post-consumer recycled content in the form of green, brown and clear glass bottles. “Our other colors in the Terra Collection contain pre-consumer recycled content, but our research suggested that consumers highly resonate with post-consumer, and we adjusted our new products to fulfill those preferences,” she explains.
Another way people seek an environmentally friendly surface is through its effect on air quality. The GreenGuard Environmental Institute has recognized the majority of Staron’s surfaces as low-emitting building materials, Mandell notes, stating, “This is particularly [helpful] for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to airborne contaminants.”
CaesarStone, Formica, LG Surfaces and VT Industries have also received GreenGuard certification, the companies note.
“Our participation in the GreenGuard program and LEED program, and support for the Sustainable Forest Initiative, form the foundation of our efforts to build a sustainable and responsible company,” says Bill Roush, spokesperson for Formica, in Cincinnati, OH.
Dunham notes that LG Surfaces is committed to adherence and enforcement of environmental regulations throughout its supply chain. “We are focusing on preventing the use of toxic contents in the raw materials we source from suppliers by demanding certificates of analysis on raw materials to determine environmental impact. LG Surfaces also conducts independent third-party evaluations to certify that our products provide the highest level of health and environmental assurance to our customers,” Dunham notes.
Dunevich explains that quartz is, by definition, an eco-friendly product, and adds that CaesarStone also uses recycled materials in its products. “I’m proud to say that we are the only quartz surface manufacturer that is ISO 14001 (environmental management system) certified,” says Dunevich. This certification entails a voluntary environmental management system implemented with appropriate goals and commitments. “Adhering to this standard improves corporate performance and provides an actual objective basis to verify a company’s claims about its green practices,” states Dunevich.
In addition to its GreenGuard certified Fine Laminate Countertops, VT Industries is promoting its EQcountertops, which use particleboard with no ureaformaldehyde added, the company notes.
While marble products are known to last for many years, Williams says that Imperial Marble evaluates its materials regularly to make sure that they’re as green as they can be. “Our focus, on top of maintaining sustainability, has been to give consumers more design options within these already sustainable products,”
When it comes to design and color trends, manufacturers agree that depth appearance is very big right now. Consumers want a sense of three-dimensional movement in the look of their countertops, and flecks and sparkles add that feeling of depth.
“Many homeowners and designers are looking for something more interesting than just a flat surface option,” says Mandell. To address this demand, Staron’s Tempest series uses translucent particulates in the manufacturing process.
In many color choices, reflective chips have also been added to create an appearance consistent with metallic elements and minerals often found in nature, Mandell states.