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Recycled Tile Options

Recycled tile makes an excellent contribution to eco-friendly buildings

recycled tileIf green building practices are important to you, tile should be at the top of your list of potential flooring materials for your new or remodeled property. Any kind of tile can deliver superior longevity and durability with a relatively low-impact manufacturing process, but recycled tile is the most eco-friendly type of tile. Installing tile flooring will also help the environment in other ways, such as by eliminating the need to use electricity for vacuuming a carpet. Besides being better for the planet, tile is also healthier than carpet because it doesn’t house mold, mildew, or allergens than can pollute your indoor environment.

Here is a brief overview of the three main types of recycled tile you may be able to choose from.

Found or Salvaged Tile

First of all, you may be able to reuse existing glass, ceramic, or stone tile. This is the most eco-friendly way to go because you save the old tiles from being sent to a landfill and you prevent the emissions that would have been associated with making new tile. There are two main ways to go about using salvaged tile. The first is to use shards of tile to create a free form mosaic. This option allows you to embrace the imperfections in found tile. The other option is to use the found tile just like you would use new tile, laying it out in an orderly grid or other pattern. This option requires you to have the exact right number of tiles to work with and is less forgiving of imperfections, though you may still embrace a distressed look.

Post-Industrial Material

Some manufacturers are creating lines of recycled tile that incorporate anywhere from 50 to 100 percent post-industrial material. This means that the tiles are reusing waste materials generated during the regular tile manufacturing process. The recycling process might entail melting down scraps created during the cutting of glass tile or even blending recycled granite or porcelain dust into the tile body.

Post-Consumer Material

Other manufacturers are using post-consumer materials, or glass and ceramics that have already been used by consumers, to create new recycled tiles. Recycled glass tiles are probably the type of tile most frequently made from post-consumer materials, because glass is so ubiquitous and easily collected for recycling. Creating tile from these kinds of waste materials uses less energy than would be required to manufacture tile from raw materials.

Don’t Forget Green Adhesives & Grout

In your quest to go green on your tile project, don’t neglect your adhesives and grout. Some of these products can release VOCs, or volatile organic compounds that can pollute the indoor environment and cause health issues. Look for products that are marked as low-VOC or no-VOC substances.