This seemed too awesome and important not to post.
The setting we are using for Much Ado About Nothing is an Italian stone villa. There are many ways to create stone on stage. What we decided to do was use vacuform plastic. It allows for a 3D look without having to create each stone by hand. The kind we ordered is made from high impact polystyrene. That is the same substance used in foam cups and everyone should be aware that they are not good for the environment. It is also likely on the side of your house or your neighbor’s. It also may be the insulation in your walls. This is what the Environmental Defense Fund thinks of it: carcinogenic.
Plastic is an environmental problem. It was made by man and does not occur in nature. It doesn’t break down. It was made to be durable, to last, and not break down. The technology exists to recycle it, but the recycling process like the manufacturing process isn’t very environmentally friendly. Many cities won’t allow all plastics in their recycling bins. Unfortunately, most of the replacement products have drawbacks. Plastic is useful. It is easy for a company to heat it, soften it, and create the illusion of stone. That is much easier than me and my carpenters cutting individual stones from wood. And the other option is foam, which basically made of the same plastic.