Environmental Responsibility

Stone Tile, working in conjunction with its suppliers, has developed an environmental policy, which addresses the environmental concerns of the hard surfaces and construction industry. Working with our European manufacturers who are EMAS or Eco-label certified, Stone Tile's porcelain, ceramic and wood program is consistent with the USGBC LEEDS certification program.


Stone Tile Material Handling

Stone Tile, in its operations as a tile and stone manufacturer and distributor, endeavors to ensure that the highest environmental standards are maintained.  In all aspects of warehousing, production, shipping, handling and office, the company strives for zero waste.

Stone Tile has set up an internal advisory committee comprised of staff and outside advisors to make recommendations and implement strategies to constantly improve our environmental performance and awareness, and to assist us in achieving our stated goal of zero waste.

  • Wooden crates and pallets are re-used as delivery packaging
  • Unusable wooden crates and pallets are recycled
  • Cardboard packaging materials are recycled
  • Broken or chipped material is used as sample material or in the production of decors and mosaics
  • Office paper is shredded and used for packaging material or recycled
  • All discontinued items or ends of lines are donated to Habitat for Humanity
  • Water used in the production of decors and mosaics is filtered, cleaned and recycled back into the process
  • All paper and packaging used is composed of 100% recycled material
  • All fork trucks are electric-powered

Porcelain and Ceramic

All porcelain and ceramic factories adhere to the same environmental objectives:

  • Products are produced without the use of any harmful or radioactive materials
  • Products produce no harmful emissions and will not effect air quality
  • All packing material (cardboard, plastic, paper) is produced with recycled material
  • Wherever possible, heat generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process is used for electricity generation, making factories energy self sufficient
  • Recycling of production breakage
  • Compliance with the European Community Environmental Management and Auditing Scheme
  • Some manufacturers also have unique environmental initiatives. Rex, for example, with its porcelain wood-look line called Abisko, has formally undertaken to plant trees in areas that have been de-forested due to over logging. The program is called One Meter for One Tree, and, as the name implies, for every meter sold of this tile, they will be planting one tree.
  • Some manufacturers also have unique environmental initiatives.  Rex, for example, with its porcelain wood-look line called Abisko, has formally undertaken to plant trees in areas that have been de-forested due to over logging. The program is called One Meter for One Tree, and, as the name implies, for every meter sold of this tile, they will be planting one tree.

Glass

All glass manufacturers use recycled glass - both post-consumer glass and waste from the manufacturing processes - in varying percentages.

Natural Stones

Natural Stones are quarried under the same guidelines and environmental controls placed on the extraction of materials for the use in porcelain and ceramic production.  Natural stones, by their nature, are environmentally inert and, if any waste is generated, can be safely used as landscaping material.

Setting Materials

Mapei is a world leader in its corporate commitment and of its industrial responsibility. For this reason, Mapei is working hard on the development of products in aqueous dispersion or which are solvent-free.  It has developed the Mapei ECO line, a broad range of products with extremely low emission in VOC (volatile organic compounds) for the installation of floors and covering materials of all types. Mapei is certified by:

  • EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme)
  • A.I.A. - Autorizzazione Integrata Ambientale (Integrated Environmental Authorisation)
  • OHSAS 18001 and the Certificate of Excellence
  • ISO 14001

Eco-label

The overall objective of the European Community policy on the environment and business is to contribute to sustainable development.

Following the Rio Summit in 1992, preparations by the EU on the overall objectives of sustainable development are underway as the year 2002 will be the year of RIO+10. 2002 will also see the 10th anniversary of the Flower label. The European eco-label is based on the vision of greening non-food products all over Europe in a joint and common approach of all European stakeholders brought together in the European Union Eco-labeling Board (EUEB)

EUEB Mission Statement

For the Flower to be recognized as Europe’s premier award for products and services which are a genuinely better choice for the environment. To help manufacturers, retailers and service providers to get recognition for good standards, and purchasers to make reliable choices.

Key Aims

To achieve significant environmental improvements - by developing, publishing and promoting criteria that push the market forward, in order to minimize the environmental impacts of a wide range of products and services over their whole life-cycle;

  • To ensure the credibility of the award – by efficient administration and through criteria which:
  • Are environmentally strong;
  • Are based on good science, including the precautionary principle;
  • Take account of consumer health;
  • Require good product performance;
  • Are developed transparently and cost-effectively, with the participation of stakeholders;
  • Are reasonably attainable;
  • Are up to date.
  • To encourage manufacturers, retailers and service providers to apply for the award, to publicize their own participation in the scheme, and to promote the availability of eco-labeled products and information about them.

With respect to hard surfaces, Eco-label guarantees:

  • Reduced energy consumption during the production phase;
  • Limitation of substances harmful for health or environment;
  • Reduced impact on habitats and natural resources;
  • Limited emissions to air and water;
  • Improved consumer information and waste management.

EMAS Certification

Regulation 761/2001, more generally known as EMAS, is a voluntary standard applicable to all enterprises within the European Union.  In its definition of the EMS, Regulation 761/2001 makes reference to ISO 14001, which is to all intents and purposes an integral part of EMAS itself.

The European Union has responded to the need of Enterprises to develop an environmental management standard with the publication of EMAS Regulation (761/2001).  This standard implements the philosophy of the "Vth Policy and action programme for the environment and sustainable development", published in 1993, which promoted the introduction of new instruments for the regulation of a new relationship between the Enterprise and the Environment. This approach was confirmed and launched anew by the "VIth Programme", currently being implemented, which underlines, among others, the importance of environmental communications processes.

The Environmental Statement, a crucial element in the EMAS process, is one of the most advanced tools available to enterprises in communicating their environmental performance to interested parties.

The increasing congruence between the international standard and the European regulation in its latest version, lead us to forecast a combined ISO 14001/EMAS process in which companies implement first an Environmental Management System and then further refine and perfect it with EMAS.

Assessment of Documentation

The Inspector evaluates the completeness and conformity of the company documentation management system to the requirements of the reference standard.  In particular, the initial environmental analysis is evaluated, as required by Regulation EC 761/2001.

Verification and Approval of the Environmental Statement

Issue of the certificate - After the review, approval and verification of any corrective actions, the certificate of approval of the Environmental Declaration is issued to the Company.

Periodic audits - annual maintenance verification is required. During the audit, the document containing the updated Environmental Indicators (given in the Environmental Statement) for the company in question is approved.

Periodic system review - The system review is done every three years and is aimed at verifying the overall continued effectiveness of the system as a whole.

LEED Certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

In general, all Stone Tile suppliers adhere to the environmental requirements of their country or region.  For example, all Italian suppliers must conform to the EMAS standards and may also conform and be certified by the European Community standard Eco label.

With respect to the supply of hard surfaces, the primary areas of concern of LEED certification of a building project are contained within the Materials & Resources section and are worth a total of 13 points.  The goals of this section are:

  • Use Materials with less environmental impact;
  • Reduce and manage waste; and,
  • Reduce the amount of materials needed.

Waste Management

The specific goal is to divert construction, demolition and land-clearing debris from disposal in landfills and incinerators.  To redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process.  Redirect reusable materials to appropriate sites.

All Stone Tile manufacturers supply their materials in recycled cardboard packaging (where box packaging is required). All waste material that is associated with the supply of Stone Tile hard surfaces is fully recyclable - cardboard boxes and wooden crates or pallets.  No non-recyclable materials are used including Styrofoam boxes.

All stones, porcelains, ceramics and glass are inert and emit no toxic or harmful gases.

Refer to the chart (above) for Eco-label standards with respect to waste management and recycling requirements. Specifically:

  • Use of recycled water & waste water recovery systems
  • Air emissions purification
  • Minimize waste solids
  • Use of recycled materials

Use and Reduction of Materials

Re-use building materials and products in order to reduce demand for virgin materials and to reduce waste.

All materials are supplied in recycled cardboard boxes (when required) and all packaging materials (including boxes, pallets and crates) are fully recyclable.  Further, all suppliers have endeavored to reduce packaging wherever possible.