Sorry about that title.
I’m curious about quarry waste, and whether that’s a resource that can be better utilized. Quarries that produce architectural stone end up rejecting stones that, due to inherent flaws or damage in the quarrying process, don’t meet architectural standards.
Given a mason with the time, discernment, and connections to select individual stones from an active or semi-active quarry’s waste pile, and the skills to build tightly and elegantly with them, this stone can make a beautiful wall with a character distinct from fieldstone and fieldstone-veneer walls.
Even without skilled masons, you can do some fun things with quarry waste, and at the same time turn a quarry’s disposal problem into a profit opportunity. (The rocks shown below came from the waste pile of the quarry that was supplying landscape curbs for the same project. The main costs to the client were my time and travel, the packing and shipping of the twenty boulders on two flatbed trucks, and a day’s work by a four-man crew to set the boulders in place. No new quarrying was required.)
But for the most part, neither the quarry industry nor the landscape industry is set up to take advantage of this resource. It seems that an enterprising quarry, if wiling to split and sort its waste stone into more easily-used sizes, could develop a new market, albeit with thinner profits than its architectural product.
Are there obstacles that I’m not seeing? Would other quarries be as willing as the Mankato Limestone quarry to let a landscape architect scramble over their waste piles? Could quarry waste be priced competitively with salvaged fieldstone? Or are there quarries out there that are already doing this, and if so, how does it vary by region?