Diespeker is committed to researching areas of the business to see where sustainable and environmental initiatives can be implemented. This includes material sourcing, manufacturing processes and ensuring durability through care, maintenance and recycling.
Our core business is natural stone and terrazzo, materials that have survived intact in many ancient locations around the world. Indeed, marble work carried out by Diespeker from as early as the 1890s is very much in evidence at the National Portrait Gallery, with Diespeker’s terrazzo flooring installed in the 1930s and beyond still in use in hospitals, county offices and universities across the UK.
During recent years, the natural stone industry has been making major improvements to develop the conservation of resources, minimal waste and better waste management, as well as looking at ways to lessen the impact of the industry on pollution. Marble and granite quarrying relies on heavy plant but progress is being made with more efficient machinery and water recycling. Once in situ, natural stone is simplicity itself to maintain, needing regular cleaning to preserve appearance and durability, as well as sealing to ensure water resistance.
Terrazzo production historically has interesting ‘green’ credentials. Over 500 years ago, quarry workers in Italy took to using cast off sections of marble mixed into cement to make the flooring for their own dwellings – recycling rather than throwing away unwanted natural stone. And now it’s not just marble and granite fragments, but other waste materials that can be added to a terrazzo mix, for example, glass chippings from glass recycling. Terrazzo can be prone to cracking and crazing but with high production levels and the correct maintenance, the material can last a lifetime.
Repairs and restoration
Both natural stone and terrazzo are durable materials. Rather than replace a damaged surface, Diespeker has expertise in the repair and restoration of the materials, so they can be restored to their former glory. More recently, our experienced team has been working to renovate existing natural stone or terrazzo installations that attract high footfall, including station concourses and stairs including Piccadilly Underground Station, or original terrazzo cantilevered stairwells uncovered from beneath layers of wood, carpet and screed at refurbished offices in W1W.
At the London Coliseum, we contributed to refurbishment works with repairs to terrazzo on the external steps. Such repair projects call on our skill to match any design or style of terrazzo, using traditional methods in our own factory to give a seamless result. Even when given just a tiny section of existing terrazzo to work to, our team produces a perfect match, with a fast turnaround in creating samples.
In a similar way to those Roman quarry workers, in the past few years, Diespeker has been using marble and granite imaginatively to use unwanted materials left over from natural stone flooring, cladding and counter top projects. Products to date include furniture, made in collaboration with London designers, giving rise to opulent, practical and totally unique pieces. Similarly, the customers of a South coast nightclub are currently resting their drinks on countertops and table supports made from waste marble aggregate chosen for its industrial feel.
In the factory
The production processes in our South East London factory are continually assessed to see where improvements in efficiency and sustainability can be made.
One key response was the installation in 2016 of a water recycling plant to recycle water used in the factory process. This £30,000 investment is part of Diespeker’s drive towards improving our environmental credentials on our own premises.
In another initiative, we invested in cutting machinery using water jets, to reduce the amount of dust created within the factory, much better both for our workforce, and for the environment.
Diespeker has also invested in a crushing machine, the perfect tool to enable us to make better use of off cuts, vastly reducing waste. A greater variety of marble, granite and other stone off cuts can now be crushed to the right size to be added to cement for Diespeker’s unique terrazzo finishes. We have also crushed glass, reusing another potential waste material.
Transportation is another consideration. As much of our work is in important and prestigious locations in the London area, this means that materials don’t have to travel far to reach their final destination. Where we do have to transport materials further, we ensure this is carried out in the most efficient way to cut down on the number of journeys.