What do post-consumer porcelain, empty glass bottles, and post-industrial process granite dust have in common?
No, it’s not their presence in a landfill. Not if Fireclay Tile has any say in the matter.
Since its founding in 1986 the San Jose, CA, company has striven to minimize its environmental impact. The product is hand-molded from extruded clays using recycled materials, unprocessed stoneware clays, and minerals, so each tile has its own natural character. Glazes are mixed in-house and never contain any lead material.
Fireclay recycles its kiln heat, water, and all manufacturing waste, which is then re-used in other parts of the business. 99% of all scrap clay is recycled back into new tile and 80% of all glaze over-spray is collected and recycled. Waste not, want not.
In particular they produce two tile lines to which I’d like to draw your attention.
The first, Crush Recycled Glass Tile, is 100% post-consumer glass taken from curbside recycling programs. The tile comes in glossy or matte finish and is available in 17 different size formats, including field (square or rectangular), rounds, triangles, diamonds, hexagons, mosaic sheets, rails, and three types of borders. Customers can choose from a range of 40 colors. This handmade tile can be substituted for ceramic & natural stone products in most applications and is ideal for projects seeking LEED certification.
The second, Debris Series Recycled Tile, has a more complex story.
Like Crush, Debris is produced using locally-sourced post-consumer waste glass. It also contains reclaimed porcelain and granite dust, which is a by-product of industrial asphalt production. Altogether these materials combine to give Debris a whopping 70% recycled material content – not only reserving hundreds of tons a year from the local landfills but also halving the energy use required to make conventional tile. Wow!
Debris comes in 112 natural, lead-free glaze colors. It is offered in field sizes ranging from 1”x2” to 12”x12”, along with a large selection of trim, moldings, raised and relief tiles, and also hand-painted Cuerda Seca tile.
Alongside the company’s environmental commitment the people of Fireclay strive to “give back” to their community by means of product donations, ceramic teaching programs, and factory tours for students. The company also seeks non-profit organizations which can put secondary and overstock tile to good use.