- Lars Lawson
Julie Rizzo: IRC Recycling Rock Star
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Celebrate the awesomeness of Julie Rizzo by donating to the IRC in her honor. Your tax-deductible contribution will help the IRC reach its 30th Anniversary fundraising campaign goal and helps fund our education and advocacy projects – and more.
The 2008 recession had a negative impact on many people throughout the country. But for Julie Rizzo, it sparked something absolutely amazing. During the recession, she transitioned from a job at a real estate magazine into consulting for a fabrication company. In this new career, she saw firsthand the damage happening to our planet.
“I didn’t know mountains were coming down and the destruction that was happening around the globe,” she said. “Do we need to tear up a mountain in Brazil and destroy everything around it for a new countertop color?”
This realization spurred Rizzo into action and launched a revolution in the granite industry. She was tired of seeing perfectly fine pieces of granite and stone thrown away, simply because they didn’t quite fit the aesthetics or size requirements. In 2009, Rizzo founded Recycled Granite, an eco-conscious company focused on saving scrap granite from landfills. With a mission of finding a place for granite within the circular economy, Rizzo developed unique systems and markets for recycled granite.
You could say the company has a focus on using granite for good. Not only is all of their work created with recycled granite, it’s also built by people with special needs. In fact, 90% of Recycled Granite employees have some sort of disability. It’s just one more way Rizzo uses her company to create good in the world and give back.
Once Rizzo successfully launched new processes for retrieving scrap granite and recycling it into beautiful products, she created the Recycled Granite franchise. From monuments to residential homes to commercial buildings, Recycled Granite has created beautiful work across the country through its 17 locations. Over the last 10 years, Recycled Granite has diverted more than 100 million pounds of granite from landfills.
The beauty of the Earth is what inspires Rizzo to continue her work. The opportunities created through recycling and the impact she’s able to easily see has also kept her going. Her hope is that all people can see that making one small change can lead to big results. “Look at a plastic bottle and think, if I throw it in the garbage, it doesn’t help anybody. If I put it in the recycling, it can help people I know. It can create a job for people I know, it can be turned into something and put back into the circular economy. Do you want to do something or do nothing?”
Written by Lindsay McGuire