Episode 3 Interview with James Bermel of Recycled Granite Coastline

On this week’s episode, I talk to James Bermel of Recycled Granite Coastline. James shares something many of us may not know and that is that there is a large amount of waste when creating granite countertops and other products. Unfortunately, this adds a load to our landfills when it doesn’t need to.

James repurposes this stone into split stone veneer tiles that create beautiful accent walls and other home decor purposes.

Listen to the Interview with James Bermel

Recycled Granite Images and Links

Learn more about Recycled Granite Coastline at http://recycledgranitecoastline.com/

Facebook – Facebook.com/RecycledGraniteCoastline

Picture of an accent wall with recycled granite veneer tiles.
This accent wall made from recycled granite tiles was a Do It Yourself project.
Picture of several housewares including wine bottle chiller and cutting boards made from recycled granite.
Cutting boards, wine stoppers, and wine bottle chillers are some of the housewares made from recycled granite.
Recycled granite tiles under bar in front of bar stools.
Granite tiles under the bar add a beautiful backdrop compared to a flat wall.

Takeaways from James Bermel

When used outside, granite doesn’t fade the way concrete pavers do. Check out their outdoor fire pits for a beautiful application.
These projects are possible for a do-it-yourselfer, though they probably will require renting a wet saw from Home Depot or Lowes.


Transcript of James Bermel on Space Coast Stories

Kim: 00:00 You’re listening to space coast stories, a podcast with interviews and stories from people and businesses on Florida’s Space Coast. I’m your host, Kim Shivler. Thanks for joining me.

Kim: 00:15 It’s a hot September day in a small Melbourne warehouse where the whir splitters, engine, whines behind me, interrupted only by the kitchen have granted being split and given a new purpose on today’s episode of space coast stories. I’ll interview James Bermel of Recycled Granite. To learn more about how keeping granite out of landfills can be a beautiful thing. Thanks for joining me.

Kim: 00:43 Hey everybody on the Space Coast. Welcome to Space Coast Stories. I’m your host Kim Shivler, and today I’m here interviewing James Bermel of Recycled Granite Coastline. I think most of us have granite in our homes, granite countertops, etc. And have you ever asked yourself what happens to that granite when you redo your kitchen and it gets torn out and replaced. James is going to explain that to us as well as give us some ideas of what could be done with that granite that’s been torn out. So James, what happens to most granite when it’s taken out, kitchen or bath, when they’re redoing it,

James: 01:29 Most of it is thrown away. Even the process of making new granite, which is where we get our materials from when a new countertop is fabricated, about 30 percent of a slab that you would pick out for your home, for your kitchen or your bathroom, whatever it might be, ends up being waste that the fabricators cut out when they’re doing their template. And so between that scrap and the scrapping homes when they’re being remodeled, tons literally tons of waste being thrown away of beautiful, precious stone that’s been harvested usually from other countries. The United States as well. Yeah. It just ends up being trash.

Kim: 02:08 So that’s going into our landfills. It’s beautiful stone. So why do we want to put it in the landfills?

James: 02:15 Well, I don’t think anybody means to do that. It’s just a natural byproduct. It’s kinda like when you’re buying cereal from the store, most cereal comes in bags or boxes and you’re not buying it because of the box or the bag you’re buying it because of the contents inside. So it’s the same thing you’re buying it because of the countertop itself, the beauty that you’re going to have in your home, but what you’re not realizing or what most people don’t realize is there’s tons and tons of square footage being tossed in the landfill just as a natural byproduct of creating your countertop.

Kim: 02:47 Excellent. So tell us then, if you recycle it, what does it look like and what can you do with it? Because it looks a little different. And folks, we will have pictures on the website if you want to take a look at it? It doesn’t look like a regular slab of granite when we’re looking at what you do with it here.

James: 03:07 So what we’re doing is we’re taking the, um, describe a countertop materials and if you can imagine it as, you know, polished on one side, like it was like you would for your countertop and dull on the other side if anyone’s ever looked. But if you look underneath like your, your countertop, if you can get that edge that lip, you’ll see that it’s unpolished. Typically, sometimes there’s a mesh, but what we’re doing is we’re actually taking the granite and we’re splitting it in half to where you can see the beauty, the exposed inner part of the granite unpolished part. But it’s, it’s just different. It’s very sparkly. It’s very beautiful on the inside. And we’re creating split stone veneer tiles with that.

Kim: 03:49 Veneer tile means we’re going to put it over something, correct?

James: 03:52 Correct. Yeah. veneer would be placed over something like it could be drywall, pan and surface, it can be cementitious. And then tile as an, you know, it’s, it’s only maybe about five eighths of an inch thick give or take. And it can be used for what we’re doing. It creates a rough surface. So typically a vertical application, you wouldn’t want to put this like on a floor or anything like that.

Kim: 04:14 Okay. So I’m seeing right behind you. We’ve got a beautiful fireplace that has got the stones all around it. Is that one of your very popular applications for this?

James: 04:25 It is, it is, yeah. The fireplace surrounds and I’m actually surprised Just being in Florida, how many fireplaces are and how many requests for fireplaces to be installed. There are some wood burning ones but even just the electric feature of having one with a tv and a mantel above it. A lot of people want to have an accent like that in their home.

Kim: 04:47 You wouldn’t think we’d need fireplaces in Florida. I guess we don’t need them, but like you said, it’s an accent piece. What else? Uh, I see pictures of aquariums backdrops on walls are those very popular, also.

James: 05:02 Very popular. So the stone, it just makes a really nice focal point. An accent wall could be underneath like a bar top where the bar stools tuck in, we use it outside as well for outdoor kitchens. And even mailboxes. So anything that you would think tile would maybe look good. The stone looks absolutely amazing.

Kim: 05:23 And how hard is this to do? Is this something that a successful do it yourselfer could do or do you absolutely have to hire somebody to get this done?

James: 05:33 Do not have to hire anybody. Someone that’s adamant about doing things themselves, they can rent a wet saw from Home Depot or Lowe’s. They could easily put this up. This is not heavy lifting. It’s very simple. We’ve got step by step directions and we’re always available to walk anybody through. If it’s a DIY, I’d say right now about a third of our customers are do it yourselfers.

Kim: 05:54 And you have classes, also, right?

James: 05:54 Yeah. We have different classes and one of the classes like that we’ve been thinking about that we haven’t done yet is like a step by step DIY class and we’ll, we’ll be doing that pretty soon.

Kim: 06:04 And where can people find out about the classes because I know they fill up, they fill up really fast.

James: 06:10 They do. So um, usually you can either access it from RecycledGraniteCoastline.com or our Facebook page where we posted our website. Does link to the Facebook page and that’s when we schedule our classes now we’ve held off during the summer months just because we have had it in our warehouse has been really hot like an oven so but will you should be resuming here the next few weeks.

Kim: 06:33 They do all this work here in the warehouse so it’s a great place to come see exactly how they’re splitting the stones and that type of thing because it’s very interesting process for people to come and see. And what about price? I look at stone and I think, wow, this is going to cost me a small fortune. Any type of guidelines on say a fireplace or a mailbox, anything like that. As far as, I believe you and I’ve talked and it’s not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as some people think it’s going to be. right? Right.

James: 07:04 So for like a do it yourselfer, it’s very affordable. The stone itself for the beauty that it presents compared to other products that are, if you want to call them, similar, is actually much less expensive that I’ve found. Just looking at the box stores and local tile stores were ranging anywhere from eight to $12 a square foot for the materials on the, on the flip side of that, for installation, every piece is piece by piece, so we box it five square feet per box, but it truly makes for like a real custom Job, no job will ever be the same, so you can’t even. If you pick the same color blend that I have around my fireplace, you’ll get the same overall look, but it won’t be these big tiles that everybody else has. There’ll be. It’ll be different. It’ll be truly random, indifferent, and it’ll be custom. And what’s neat about it too is a lot of the time with stone or small tiles on some kind of a sheeting or a mesh backing, you can see those panels as they’re put up. Sometimes they don’t just flow together. This method of installation, I mean it flows together and it looks absolutely beautiful.

Kim: 08:08 So each one has actually custom in the sense that completely unique in that the colors maybe the same, but because they’re put in differently it’s not going to look exactly like another one.

James: 08:17 Right. And a lot of them are random sizes too. As far as the, the woods of the stone, it’s truly custom.

Kim: 08:23 And I do see we’re sitting here, we’re actually in James’s warehouse here right now and I do see a fire pit, you know it’s just September, but we’re getting into those months in Florida where we actually get a few days to use a fire pit. Now those stones look a little bit different. So tell me about those.

James: 08:43 So these are these stones here, they still have the split edge on the, on the outside part of the fire pit, but on the top you’ve got the polish side up of what the countertop was meant to be or used to be. So we’ve got this fire pit here in particular is a 36 inch outer diameter round fire pit and it’s got a wood burning insert. We sell it as a kit and we also have a 48 inch round outer diameter. And these we can do color blends, much like our tiles. Um, it’s just picking out the right color. So if you want shades of gray, we can put together all the shades of gray you want for the fire pit as well as polished site up on the, uh, the actual, um, firepit blocks is what we call them. Very similar to like what a paver would look like, but the countertop thickness instead of, you know, bigger. The neat thing about granite being used outdoors is that it will not fade in sunlight. It just, it holds beauty and retained as beauty. It was created outside, it was part of a mountain at one point. And now when it’s at your home, I mean it’s a permanent fixture.

Kim: 09:46 So as opposed to those concrete pavers like I have where they fade over time, this doesn’t do that. Correct. Where did you come up with this idea? What got you into recycling granite?

James: 09:58 Well, our own home remodel about a year and a half ago, almost two years ago now, is really what created the idea and wasn’t our original idea, were a part of a franchise across the nation. There’s about 20 different locations. What got us into it was the search for a natural stone look around our fireplace and when we remodeled our fireplace we have originally like 12 by 12 floor marble and it was pink and gray just didn’t go with anything and it was very outdated looking, especially with the colors that it was. We were on the search for something, just couldn’t find anything and we did some internet research and we’re getting rid of some old granite as well from our new countertops that we got. And I was like, well what can we do with this? It seems like such a waste to just get rid of it. And I actually found something on the website, recycled granite, contacted the franchise.

Kim: 10:52 So you’re fairly new business then here locally and a Recycled Granite is here in Melbourne actually. And so how long have you been open? About eight months now. Okay. So you’re still kind of getting your foot in the door for people to really find out about you and understand what they can do. And for those people who don’t have a whole wall to do or a fireplace or even a mailbox, what do you have on the smaller side? For them?

James: 11:19 On the smaller side. So we, we make several other small products and I like to just sum it up in a category called housewares. We have wine bottle stoppers which are little inch and a quarter by inch and a quarter of cubes of the granite countertop that are split with the split edge and they sparkle all the way around, fastened to a bottle stopper for wine bottles. We have cheese trays. I can make cutting boards, all different sizes, coasters, just anything to repurpose this product from being ended up in the landfill. So,

Kim: 11:51 And two of the really cool products have, and they have a class on this, is the flower box flower box in the flower boxes. And the wine chiller.

James: 12:01 Yes. And those, the, the walls of the flower box. And also the wine chiller are made from our split stone veneer tiles that we manufacturer. So the same stuff you put on your walls, we just cut them to a specific size and adhere them together to create the flower box, which is awesome. We get a lot of requests for those. And also the wine chillers. That’s one of our newest features. It’s made out of the same stone. Obviously. Granite it’s got a granite base. And what’s that put in your freezer for about 40 minutes and let it get freezing cold. Bring it out when you’re serving or wine. It’ll keep the wine bottle cooler. Much longer.

Kim: 12:37 Nice. That’s the class I’m looking forward to. This beautiful feature to it has beautiful feature. That’s the class I’m looking forward to taking. Actually,

James: 12:47 We’ll have to do a class for that.

Both: 12:49 We’ve done. We’ve done one for the flower box in. Thank you so much for being on the show with me. Let’s let people know how the best way to get ahold of you. All right, so our facebook’s got not, not our facebook,

James: 13:00 sorry. Our website’s got all the information, so it’s recycledgranitecoastline.com, and from that we’ve got our phone number or email or Facebook links or even on Instagram, so that’d be the best way.

Kim: 13:15 Excellent, and we will link up to all of that in the show notes. You’ll be able to find that at spacecoaststories.com forward slash recycled granite. Thanks so much for being here, James. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Outro: 13:30 Join us next time for another episode of space coast stories. You can find the show notes and other information@spacecoaststories.com. The views of the guest on this show are their own and don’t necessarily represent the views of the show owners post or company. Thanks for listening to space coast stories.

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