CSTD News / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Florida Tile increases waste content in products

LEXINGTON, KY -- Florida Tile has developed and brought on-line a new scrap tile crushing facility which allows more post-production fired tile than ever to be crushed for reintroduction into the body of tile made at its Lawrenceburg facility.

"This achieves two things simultaneously," explained Sean Cilona, Marketing Director for Florida Tile. "First, our proprietary design and subsequent implementation will have a dramatic impact on the waste stream. Now, virtually all scrap tile can be diverted from landfills for use in our production facilities. Secondly, the nature of our process allows for all of our tile lines to contain recycled content. This is important to our industry and to designers, architects and builders, all of whom have an interest in a broader spectrum of tile with recycled content."

Fired tile, especially porcelain, is one of the hardest materials on earth. For years, tile manufacturers have struggled with ways to deal with fired tile scrap. Crushing this material to reintroduce it into the production mix requires large capital investment and know-how, according to Florida Tile.

"Previously, Florida Tile has successfully crushed and reused scrap wall tile and red body floor tile," said Cilona. "Now, with the installation of our new crushing line, we have the capability of crushing and recycling not only those products as well as porcelain, but also virtually any scrap ceramic material and using that for content across all product lines." Cilona noted that manufacturers for years have been able to crush scrap tile, but the crushed content was usually limited in use, generally to create only one recycled tile style or line. "This meant tile makers could introduce a percentage of scrap usually into a very limited product line, and the result was often less aesthetically pleasing and more variable in appearance," he said. "Florida Tile took a different path by engineering a process using the most advanced machinery to create an ideal aggregate by which we can introduce a greater percentage of reworked material into all of our tile lines. Right now, the formula for porcelain tile made at our Kentucky plant is 10% recycled content. Other Florida Tile products contain even higher amounts, and the company is committed to increasing those percentages in the coming months."

Initiatives like this are all part of the growing Florida Tile CARES (Creating A Responsible Environmental Strategy) program. "This is a very strong commitment to conserve our natural resources and a great value-added benefit to our entire customer base," said Cilona. "Programs like LEED and the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Green Building Standard both reward the use of materials with recycled content. Also, as mainstream consumers continue to gain knowledge and become aware of building trends, they are now actively looking for products with a reduced environmental impact."

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