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  • Writer's pictureSusan Van Meter

Step 3 - Marble Alternatives - Five Steps for Designing a Sustainable Luxury Bathroom!


Here at SVM Interiors, we are creating homes with an emphasis on the health and wellness of families, individuals, and our planet, by using design principles, products, and materials that help reduce the use of chemicals, pollution, waste, and energy consumption.

Part 3 of a series of 5 bite-sized articles on how to create a sustainable bathroom.

This week it's marble, should we still be using and what are the alternatives?

Marble is a gorgeous material, but, its use is not at all sustainable. It is not renewable as it needs to be quarried from mountains which, of course, cannot be replaced. Marble is heavy and labour intensive to extract, fabricate, and transport, it is porous and requires a lot of maintenance.

As designers and conscious consumers, it is our duty to educate and encourage our clients by offering alternatives to natural stones that are creative and desirable.

There are alternatives to natural marble, stone, and granite. For walls and floors, the large format tiles from Porcel-Thin are a sustainable option, beautiful and realistic looking.


Download this FREE GUIDE - 10 Alternative surfaces to marble


👉 How do we deal with solid 20-30mm natural stone or marble countertops that basins and baths normally sit under or on top of?

Quartz or engineered stone is the option many of us now use in our homes, for bathrooms and kitchens.


90 percent of quartz is crushed up waste of natural stone, marble, granite or recycled industrial wastes such as ceramic, silica, glass, mirrors, etc, and maybe some actual quartz—sometimes a lot of it, depends on the supplier.

These materials are bound together with polymer or cement-based binder which gives the engineered quartz top the look and feel of stone. It is a very dense, non-porous material and therefore antibacterial. Because it is the preferred 'stone' material it has risen in price and granite has reduced in price, making them about the same cost per square metre.


Here is some background about the history of quartz. Bretonstone®

"In 1963, the technology of creating engineered stone was developed by the Breton company in northeast Italy, who licensed the process under the trademark Bretonstone®. Over 50 years later, Breton is still alive and kicking.

The process consists of blending pulverized natural stone aggregate with a mix of polymers, removing the air, then heating and shaping the material into slabs that have the hardness and appearance of natural stone. 

Bretonstone technology has been licensed to more than 50 companies around the world, including such famous names as Silestone, Cambria, and Caesarstone. While these manufacturers absolutely do add their own flair and nuances to their engineered stone countertops, they are still working off of that original brevetto, or patent, from Breton.

Some forms of quartz countertops now include fragments of mirrors and other glass, brass metal filings, and various mixtures of granite and marble."


(A deeply Green company)

Is a Spanish company that manufactures Silestone, Dekton and ECO.

Their Silestone range has a very high level of natural quartz in it, up to 90%. Their ECO range uses 75% of other recycled material.

"The revolutionary worksurface, ECO by Cosentino is composed of 75% recycled raw materials, including salvaged mirrors, glass from windows and bottles as well as porcelain from china, tiles, and sinks. Achieved through state-of-the-art technology, the worktops are extremely durable with a high stain, scratch, and scorch resistance."

"The recycled content is mixed with other materials including stone waste and is bonded together with a part eco-resin, which contains 22% corn oil. This pioneering resin is the result of a major research and development initiative, and is unmatched in the market today"

Quartz can be made to look like marble. This Silestone Calacatta Gold slab is a very popular marble used in the past few years and has established a trend for it's use in both bathrooms and kitchens.

You will find cheaper versions of quartz, normally shipped from China, mixed with toxic binders to hold it together. As a consumer that cares about where and how a product is produced, this is not an option to consider.

Quartz worktops and tiles used in bathroom renovations
Calacatta Gold quartz material used in bathrooms


(A Green Company)

I recently came across this company and I'm very impressed with their product. So many quartz manufacturers create quartz slabs that are poor copies of marble.

This company is different. Made in Germany to high environmental standards with a wide range of quartz stone for all building applications. Forest is their new range with a marble look that is difficult to tell the difference from the real thing, available in 20 and 30mm slabs. They now have a UK base with a large warehouse in Harlow, Essex.

Quartzforms incredible man made stone.
Is it marble? Yes, it is! Quartz stone.

They hold many certifications, not limited to, Greenguard-gold, Kosher compatible, Breton Tech, Ohmi- ISE 5001.


(A deeply Green company)

An Italian company is tackling the cut sections (offcuts) of marble and stone, cutting, shaping, and binding (using non-toxic resins) together into slabs creating distinctive stripes with different patterned offcuts.

They are very driven by their sustainability initiatives and environmental commitments.

Stonethica sustainable stone.
Marble offcuts, normally thrown away are re-purposed into slabs.


Download this FREE GUIDE - 10 Alternative surfaces to marble


(Please note: when you see 'deeply green' this is my way of saying

the company efforts are 100% committed to sustainability.)


(A deeply Green company)

A British company creating unique super interesting terrazzo slabs from non-toxic coloured resins and the offcuts from London trees that have been felled for maintenance purposes. They have created a product that is highly sustainable with an excellent commitment to the life cycle, circular economy, and renewable product principles.

Driven and committed to sustainability. Made in the UK.

Recycled worktops to use in bathrooms
Foresso terrazzo style slab worktop, walls and flooting.


(A deeply Green company)

A British company specialising in recycled glass worktops. Resilica has an established manufacturing and environment commitment in place.

"Resilica is manufactured using up to 100% recycled waste glass, reducing landfill and destructive stone quarrying. It is produced using solvent-free resins. Once cured these resins are totally inert and contain no VOCs. Water used in the manufacturing process is recycled where possible"

Resilica is manufactured entirely and exclusively in its UK factory thus minimising the carbon footprint associated with imported surfaces.

Recycled glass non toxic worktops, for bathrooms and kitchens
Resilica recycled glass worktops for bathrooms and kitchens


(A deeply Green company)

A British company based in East London. Their solid surface material is sustainable and non-toxic. Much like a traditional terrazzo, this material is hardwearing, waterproof, and contemporary. Certainly for a modern bathroom design.

Altrock combines recycled marble flour, recycled marble chips, and chunks of offcuts, and broken pieces of beautiful marble slabs. All of these are byproducts of local marble manufacturing, the waste materials from the production of various luxury products, and building finishes. The marble is mixed and bonded with a small amount of resin, pigmented in a huge range of custom colours, and cast by hand in slabs of all shapes and sizes.

Altrock is sealed with a wax oil that dries to a beautiful matt finish. This deepens and highlights the unique veining of the natural stone chunks, and provides a durable, waterproof, and stain-resistant finish.

Terrazzo style recycled worktops for bathrooms and kitchens
Alt Rock worktop used in a kitchen, couldn't find a bathroom!

Alt Rock terrazzo style recycled worktops for bathrooms and kitchens
Alt Rock terrazzo style recycled worktops for bathrooms and kitchens

👉If you would like more tips, hop over to my private Facebook group Green & Glam

You can always contact me using this link if you would like more information on the products or design principles mentioned in this article.

We are always looking out for companies manufacturing sustainable products to add to our preferred supplier list. If you would like to be considered, please contact me here.

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