After six years of working in the countertop fabrication field, Nolan Kilby said he decided to become a catalyst for change in the industry, which he says produces over 35 million pounds of waste annually in Austin alone.
“Over 30 percent of the slabs that come into countertop fabricator shops get tossed,” he said. “Granite will just sit in a landfill and not break down for millions of years; it’s a shame this stone gets wasted like that.”
In July 2014, Kilby opened Granite Recyclers Austin in the Yard at St. Elmo, a stone repurposing business that collects granite and marble scrap from countertop fabricators and turns it into fire pits, sidewalk pavers and split-stone veneer siding.
By offering a free waste-collection service to countertop fabricators who would otherwise have to pay for disposal, Kilby not only saves on his material cost, but he also keeps stone remnants out of landfills.
Each week, Kilby drives a flatbed truck to pick up approximately 20,000 pounds of scrap from local businesses, which he brings back to his shop, cleans and repurposes into sellable products.
“At the end of the day I am competing with very large companies that produce similar products, but our selling point is that we offer locally sourced, locally handmade products that help your local environment and your economy,” he said.
Two machines are used to recycle the stone, Kilby said. Similar to an oversized cookie cutter, the Stone Cycler is a hydraulic press used to create varying shapes. The Tomahawk Stone Splitter cuts rock into tiles, which Kilby uses to create split-stone veneer siding for homes.
To reduce his business’s environmental footprint, once the stone is cut, Kilby uses a flour sifter to isolate the granite dust, which he donates to local nonprofit Compost Coalition.
“I try to find a solution for all of the stone I bring in so we aren’t throwing anything away,” he said.
Kilby sells his products directly to consumers, as well as builders and contractors. His hope is to focus more on builders who are committed to sustainable building practices.
Granite Recyclers Austin
440 E. St. Elmo Road, Bldg. E-2, Austin
Hours: by appointment only