Colorful Countertops from Recycled Glass

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New York City-based IceStone produces countertops from a mix of recycled glass and cement. These countertops—which reflect the diversion of 17 million pounds of glass from landfills—contain no resins, glues, petrochemicals, plastics or chemical binders. IceStone’s countertops are available in 18 color shades including Cobalt Ice, Moroccan Red and Tuscan Sunset.

The production process is intricate. Glass purchased from commercial glass recyclers is cut and sanded while undergoing a testing process at IceStone headquarters, located in a 55,000 square foot facility within the historical Brooklyn Navy Yard. This facility is daylit with skylights, uses a water recycling system, and steam powered kilns.

Glass that adheres to the company’s high standards is blended with Portland cement (at a 3:1 glass-to-cement ratio) and water, as well as a non-toxic pigment to add color. The mix is poured into a 96.5″ x 52.5″ molding tray which is then swung to a vibrating machine by company staff. The tray remains in a steam-powered kiln overnight to provide 14-16 hours of drying and hardening time. Two weeks more to cure and the finished countertop is polished, treated and ready for market. Any unusable glass or cement can be recycled.

IceStone has generated strong sales across the U.S. and Canada for 16 years. Roughly 60% of its revenues hail from residential customers with the balance deriving from the commercial market. As a rare certified B Corporation, IceStone is not solely focused on producing profits. Management is dedicated to social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.

In 2019, IceStone hired Mike Cook, a cement and concrete industry expert, who delivered a breakthrough. With its new and improved counter covering formula that included a lifelong seal and increased stain and heat resistance, customers no longer have to maintain and re-seal their countertops. The new formula is burn-resistant and conducive for outdoor use. Enthusiastic customers rave that the new and improved countertop is impervious to cracks as well as stains from vinegar, mustard, coffee and more.

The 2020 downturn spawned by Covid-19 has slowed sales momentum; however, company management sees many reasons for a promising future. Notable clients include Microsoft, NASA, New York’s Bank of America Tower, and Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, where the countertops grace the VIP lounges. Recycled glass from the iconic green Heineken beer bottles were used to adorn the counters of Heineken’s New York headquarters.

With the backing of investors who double as sustainability-minded principals at Ben & Jerry’s, Odwalla Juices and Stonyfield Farms, IceStone was purchased at auction in 2003. Mr. Dal LaMagna took over as CEO in 2012 as the company was on the brink of closing.

Co-founder LaMagna has a passion for second chances. Recycling glass is one example. Donating excess product to students and artists as well as the IceStone employee base is another. Staff includes a heavy concentration of refugees and folks who were at one time incarcerated or homeless. In mid-2020 Mr. LaMagna hired Anthony Weiner, a friend from his days in politics, to replace him as CEO.

David Liepman
October 12, 2020

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