Peter’s Corner: with a deposit system, natural stone could present itself as a perfect player in the Green Deal of the EU commission and in Joe Biden’s policy

Peter Becker, editor-in-chief,

Stone flooring can be perfectly reconditioned and reused, and there are already techniques for laying it without glue or mortar, which would then be required

For the entire European economy, environmental aspects of products and production will be a key issue this year and in the years to come. Natural stone companies will also have to make an effort to participate in the EU Commission’s Green Deal. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has placed recycling and the circular economy at the center of her concept. US-president Biden has also announced green measures.

Stone companies as we know them will wave this off: “green” we have been for a long time, they will say, our material is 100% natural and can be recycled indefinitely.

That is true. However, there is much more to the topic – even great opportunities to increase the industry’s sales.

A special feature of natural stone is that it cannot only be downcycled. Downcycling means that paper, for example, can be collected and then reused as cardboard, but then inevitably goes into incineration.

A floor covering made of natural stone, on the other hand, can be reconditioned once it has been worn down. Afterwards it is like new – ready for the next life cycle.

The exciting thing now is to combine this genuine reusability of stone with the desire of many stores to regularly renew their interiors and thus their flooring.

A new type of business model would be possible here for larger dealers in the stone industry or the associations: they could set up a type of deposit system or even a type of stone leasing. Then, whoever buys a new natural stone floor would get a take-back guarantee for it, provided that he later buys a new covering again from this dealer.

For the customer in such a way the new soil would become cheaper.

The deal for the stone seller would be that he can refurbish the deposit stone and sell it again (as new).

But for this, stone tiles must not be laid in the mortar bed. Because if you tear them out there, they break.

But there are already solutions, such as that of DryTile, where stoneware tiles are laid entirely without glue or mortar. We had reported about it (see link at the bottom).

It is exciting to calculate such a deposit system.

It should be noted, for example, that the pawnbroker needs space for storage and people for reconditioning and transport.

He would probably not have higher investment costs because the pawns are immediately available again as new goods in the warehouse after reconditioning.

Overall, such a deposit system could increase industry sales. This is because on the buyer side, i.e. for stores or boutiques, for example, refurbishment would become more cost-effective: on the one hand, the deposit would make the new tiles cheaper, and on the other, the customer would have little downtime because a DryTile floor is fully usable again after just 24 hours.

We recall that in Germany, on average across all sectors and all types of stores, a complete renewal is carried out every 9 years. These figures were mentioned at the EuroShop 2020 trade show (see link at the bottom).

If you can now, for example, make the shortening of this period palatable to the boutiques with styling, you will have an increase in sales of natural stone floors.

Mind you: such an increase is not achieved according to the principle of throwing away and predetermined breaking points, but through ecological action.

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(29.01.2021, USA: 01.29.2021)