Many companies will tout their “green” aspects. Sometimes it’s significant, and sometimes the best they can do is that they use cardboard packaging, which is recyclable. Even insignificant green aspects add up, so we’ll take all we can get!
Our “green” claims fall into the significant category, and we’re very proud of the work we’ve put into making that a reality.
The main reason Slate-ish exists is to reduce our collective impact on our environment.
Sure we make a living off it as well, but our mission has been to do our part to move our society to a sustainable path.
Our experience in construction has show us that green products are only well received if they meet all of the customer’s other needs as well. Products have to be appropriately durable, beautiful (in the eye of the beholder) and priced to fit the budget.
Slate-ish started out as a very boutique product. We had limited supplies of our own scrap material, it was really tough to produce and since no one had done this before, we had to figure it out as we went along. Over the years we have found new sources of scrap that showed us we had a lot more work to do if we were going to make even a slight dent in the scrap going to the landfill. We began developing processes and machinery to increase our output and decrease our costs. This would allow us to produce more and to be able to have a lower price point making Slate-ish fit in more client’s budgets. Now we are working to grow the customer base and allow us to divert more of this scrap from the landfill and in the process displace more carbon intensive product alternatives.
Really we didn't look to much at our carbon footprint in the past.
Our underlying principals already keep our impacts as low as we can.
We live close to where we make Slate-ish, ride bikes to commute from our straw bale house, and replaced our old tired truck with a used all-electric Nissan Leaf car when the truck finally gave up. The shop is not air-conditioned and barely heated enough to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter. At some point we would love to install solar to offset our transportation to work, heating and cooling, and the production of Slate-ish. Since we can't do that today, we buy shares in our local utility’s solar program to help them move to renewable sources.
Then we started looking at our hidden environmental impact and how we compare with alternatives like stone.
The scrap we use has two other possible destinations: waste to power or the landfill. These are the same as what Slate-ish has. So we have zero footprint for raw material. The next major carbon emission is transport. Slate-ish weighs 1/6th of what stone weighs at most. Slate-ish travels roughly 1000 miles by truck to us as scrap on average and anther 1000 miles to its average customer. Stone travels first by truck from quarry to port, then thousands of miles by boat (most stone tile is sourced overseas) then another +1000 miles to the distributor and a few hundred more to the customer. At every stage the stone can get broken or damaged much more easily, the boxes are heavy and stone is brittle. Slate-ish is almost impossible to damage in shipping. By our calculations Slate-ish has a 90% lower carbon footprint than stone. Once we did the math we then purchased carbon offsets for the parts of the supply chain we could not reduce to zero.
We continue to seek out process and sourcing improvements to decrease our impact even further.
Our raw material would normally have ended up in the landfill
We use energy efficient LED lighting in our shop, limited heating and no cooling
Choosing a 1.5” standard tile size means we can use nearly 100% of the scrap that comes in
We use water-based surface color treatments for our Asphalt, Chalk, Limestone, and Rustic color blends
We’re in the middle of the US, so shipping to either coast is about equal distance
We use un-branded cardboard boxes that can be re-used or recycled
We only ship Ground for our case products. Air shipment is very fuel intensive, and the environmental costs are high
Our raw material is made in the USA, not imported
1/10th the carbon footprint of natural stone transportation
We even drop off our samples and cases to FedEx for delivery to you in an all-electric vehicle!