2.04 STONE – SusTainable ecOdesign reusiNg quarring wastE

Fabio Fatiguso
Marzo 2023
Febbraio 2025
Politecnico di Bari
  • Università degli Studi di Firenze
  • Università degli Studi di Palermo
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • Politecnico di Torino
  • Università degli Studi della Basilicata
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • UP Group S.R.L.
  • Arredo di Pietra S.R.L.
  • Ferramati International S.p.A.
  • B.Re.D. S.R.L.
  • Nerosicilia Group S.R.L.
2.04 STONE – SusTainable ecOdesign reusiNg quarring wastE

Natural stone’s industry has gone progressively widening, assuming a strategic role in worldwide economy. In 2015, the production was about 82.6 million tons with a percentage of the waste extraction and processing amounting to over 70% of the gross quantity. In the European Union, the Italian pre-eminence, as fifth leading stone country, was consolidated with over 30% of volume. The increased production of natural stone waste, as well as its impact on the environment, has boosted academic and industrial research on waste minimization. Nonetheless, a great scientific interest has also been addressed to recovery and recycling of stone slurry from quarrying activities and processing plants, particularly as fine aggregate for a broad range of low-CO2 cement-based materials or compounding with resins based on possibly biobased/recycled/biodegradable polymeric matrices or their blends.

Apropos, the STONE project aims at promoting the sustainable use of stone slurry from local quarrying and manufacturing activities – e.g. areas where «Perlato di Sicilia» (Sicily), “Pietra Lavica dell’Etna” (Sicily), «Pietra di Apricena» (Apulia) and «Marmo di Carrara» (Tuscany) are quarried -, in order to achieve:

  • Process optimization by circular management that might reduce the environmental impacts from waste disposal and exploitation of raw materials at the geocluster scale
  • Made in Italy product innovation by high quality and cutting-edge advanced/eco materials (also reusing stone waste through biomineralization processes) and components (e.g. objects, tiles, boards and panels) for indoor/outdoor living spaces and temporary housing solutions
  • Technological transition by digital methods (e.g., additive manufacturing) for modular, scalable, versatile and controlled production, also in view of end-life disassembly and reuse



  • Technical monitoring and reporting
  • Financial monitoring and reporting


  • Analysis of scientific, technical, normative and patenting state-of-the art on reuse of stone-based products and by-products
  • Identification of current waste materials and treatments from stone quarrying and manufacturing in the reference geoclusters


  • Characterization of mechanical, chemical and physical properties of stone waste for identification of performance-based transformation and recycle scenarios
  • Functional design of components, products, material formulations and systems employing stone quarrying and manufacturing waste for indoor/outdoor living spaces and temporary housing solutions, in order to extend stone waste lifetime, minimizing their energy and CO2 footprint Identification of data-driven digital manufacturing technologies and pipelines to enhance flexible standardization and quality control
  • Identification of multi-scale/multi-domain impact performance indicators and impact assessment methods in life-cycle analysis

Experimentation and validation:

  • Definition and application of an assessment protocol for experimentation of the reliability, durability and life-cycle sustainability of selected solutions
  • Validation of advanced design solutions and identification of relevant Made in Italy industries for their exploitation
  • Definition of a harmonized framework of processes, technologies, and tools toward the development of circular and sustainable supply chains for multiple application domains and geoclusters
  • Design of promotion and education activities to raise awareness on circular stone management


  • Contributions in scientific journals and conferences
  • Social media, web communications, industry-relevant events, exhibitions
The STONE project aims at developing novel solutions and tools that might divert stone quarrying and manufacturing waste from landfills and enhance employment of secondary raw materials in high quality and cutting-edge Made in Italy industries. Thus, beyond the environmental advantages of the waste-to-resource approach, the above-mentioned goals are meant to be beneficial from several perspectives, including:
  • Cultural, by increasing the role of universities as reference education centres for companies’ increased awareness on sustainability and circularity and by strengthening industry-based skills of Italian researchers and innovation managers on ecological and digital transition.
  • Social, by enhancing new sustainable behaviours and consumption pathways, improving consumer consciousness on circularity and sustainability, and identifying solutions for inclusivity and efficiency in factories, based on digital technologies.
  • Economic, by reducing disposal costs of stone extraction and processing, adding value to the stone waste through reuse in high-quality supply-chains, optimizing the circular management according to a local geo-cluster scale, exploiting the potential of digital technologies for efficient processes and scalable solutions (towards application in SMEs)
The foreseen cultural, social and economic advantages will be ensured by the variety and complementarity of the STONE project involved partners, including universities (Polytechnic of Bari University of Firenze, University of Palermo, Polytechnic of Milan, Polytechnic of Turin, University of Basilicata); research centres (CNR); university spin-offs (BReD srl); consortia of stone quarrymen (Conpietra); manufacturers of construction elements (Nerosicilia Group Srl, Up Group, Mipa) and components (Ferramati international S.p.A.).
The expected STONE project results might be summarized as follows:
  • Inventory of case studies and concept of materials, components, products, material formulations and systems
  • Inventory of case studies and concept of design processes, technologies, and tools
  • Prototype solutions of innovative products employing stone quarrying and manufacturing tailings, such as powder-based and injectable formulation-based 3D printed interior/outdoor design objects and tiles; cement-based/resin-based boards and tiles for interior and exterior finishing by aggregate replacement/powder integration; cement-based cladding surfaces shaped through mould-free fabric matrixes; use of bio-based polymers or however produced from renewable resources.
  • Testbeds for direct measurements (e.g., mechanical properties, durability,) and analyses (e.g. LCA)
  • Portfolio of advanced design solutions, based on Proof of Concept validation
  • Harmonized workflow for sustainable use of stone quarrying and manufacturing waste across supply-chain stakeholders (e.g. providers, costumers, consumers), including guidelines for performance-based assessment of tailings, definition of recycle scenarios and identification of transformation requirements.
  • Design of promotion and education activities to raise awareness on circular stone management.
  • Report on scientific dissemination
  • Report on communication activities