When it comes to working with a natural material, we need to analyze each step of the way to guarantee its sustainability. Today, sustainability is one of the main concerns in almost every industry, especially on those who rely their activity on natural resources.
Our factory is emerged in the National Natural Park of Serra de Aire e Candeeiros so we are faced with an astonishing panoramic view, as well as a sense of protection of this natural treasure. Through our activity we act with one purpose: contribute and preserve our natural environment.
Therefore, during transformation and production of natural stone, like any other industries, we face ourselves with waste. It is up to every one of us to be responsible and reduce our ecological footprint.
And now you ask: how? Keep reading to find out more!
When exploring a quarry, it is possible to reconcile the extractive activity and sustainability intended in the use of a raw material that is 100% natural. Therefore, the extractive companies of ornamental stones are smaller and promote their activity in a programmed way, always keeping in mind environmental and social sustainability principles. We have to assure that the quarry is being explored under the right policies and laws.
It is important to start reducing stone waste right from the beginning when is being transformed, using efficient strategies. At LSI we have three fundamental pillars on sustainable matters:
Water is one of the most important natural resources we have in the world and at the stone industry. It is up to us to use it sustainably and consciously.
Using an internal water treatment system allows a cyclonic reuse of all water in the factory. Taking advantage of the rainfall water in the area. This system storages water that, afterwards, is reused in the production processes. These measures avoid the use of clean and drinkable water each time a cycle is processed.
Allowing natural light to illuminate the entire factory does not only helps reduce energy consumption but also turns the place more open and enlighted.
One of the ways we became more sustainable was the use of transparent panels on the roof of the production unit, as well as using solar panels to generate energy.
Our recycling system is organized to allow the complete reuse of stone, letting what once was considered waste, to be reborn as a raw material to other industries. So, we are proud to say that our company has a zero-waste policy. We reuse our materials, especially crushed/ broken stone pieces, to different industries, from food to cement. These simple steps, help reduce waste during the transformation and extraction process. Yet, after production, we have non-expected waste that is taken care of after this process. So you may ask what happens when the process is over.
Right now, LSI is using its stone waste mostly in Cement Production, that’s usually associated with the “paste” resulting from the stone process than the stone itself and Fillings for Production.
However, there are more purposes for limestone waste, such as:
Cement is manufactured using the paste resulting from the combination of limestone and water, during its transformation. The stone industries are capable of supplying large amounts of limestone pieces and debris. Usually this paste is more used for this purpose than the actual limestone debris.
Depending on the method of production and application, limestone can be used in the construction of roads, avoiding further excavations to obtain a raw material that is already available in the large majority of stone companies. We can help reduce costs, landscape destruction of a new location and, consequently, a reduction of the CO2 emission this process of extraction and transport would imply.
A simple and smart way to reuse your stone waste is to create massive bricks with a rustic finish. Aesthetically it can give a wonderful look to a wall, very different from the traditional wall. It requires less maintenance, have a great durability, and it is easier to apply and build. It is a more resistant product than the traditional brick, and we can reuse a natural product with no transformation.
Another smart way to give a new life to waste is through the production of glass, which, in some circumstances uses limestone aside from types of sands.
In the construction, it is often necessary to use other materials to flatten the surface of the place where the construction will be carried out. Limestone waste can be used as a cheaper and equally effective fill.
As incredible as it may seem, limestone can be used to give pigmentation to the most diverse products that we all have in our homes. Products like paper, plastic, toothpaste, paints, tiles, often use limestone to give a lighter colour on the final product.
The huge amounts of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere generate serious consequences on the environment, one of them is acid rain. When it falls on the soil, its Ph becomes acid, making it unsuitable for cultivation. Pulverized limestone is used as soil acidity conditioner, serving to balance the Ph and reactivates it.
Limestone has a very important role in animal breeding, more particularly in granivorous birds, such as chickens. These animals usually ingest small stones to help crush the food in the digestion process, avoiding certain health problems, which will consequently decrease the occurrence of deaths.
Limestone can be used for remineralizing and increase the alkalinity of purified water to prevent pipe corrosion and to restore essential nutrient levels.
In our daily foods, such as bread or cereals, we can add limestone purification. This type of purification is an important calcium source. It contributes to our health by helping to control blood acidity, hormone level or blood clotting, and also to strengthen our bones.
It is important to optimize each industry to be more sustainable and reduce its ecological footprint. If you have more suggestions about this topic, please leave a comment!