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FireClay Tile

Up-Cycling Landfilled Porcelain into Gorgeous Ceramic Tile

Fireclay Tile to Offset 150+ Tons of Waste & Increase Debris Series Recycled Content to over 70 Percent

San Jose, CA - Fireclay Tile, a sustainable California manufacturer of innovative ceramic tile, is proud to announce that its Debris Series Recycled Tile will now feature over 70 percent recycled materials with the addition of landfill-bound recycled porcelain. Working closely with the San Francisco and San Jose city recyclers, Fireclay Tile will be initially offsetting the landfill of over 150 tons of porcelain waste, which the company will grind into fine dust to reincorporate into its ceramic tile. Fireclay Tile has been incorporating similar local Bay Area recycled materials into its custom handmade ceramic tile for the past 15 years including recycled waste glass, recycled waste granite dust, and spent abrasive materials.

Working closely with managers from both San Francisco and San Jose recyclers for the past twelve months, Fireclay Tile and the two organizations have been successful at identifying porcelain-based products for this endeavor, setting those aside and storing them, and setting up a transportation and grinding operation to successfully deliver to Fireclay’s Northern California factory usable material ready to immediately be incorporated into Fireclay’s ceramic tile. Ken Stewart, the operations manager for Recology in San Francisco, has helped reclaim more than 30 tons, and Michael Gross from Zanker Road Resource Management LTD in San Jose has helped reclaim over 120 tons of recycled porcelain materials. In just twelve months well over 150 tons have been set aside, and the organizations intend to continue this effort indefinitely. Fireclay Tile also hopes to partner with other municipal waste providers for a similar effort, as 100 tons will only last the company roughly eight months.

“I’m a scavenger by nature. I guess it’s just part of my DNA. Ever since I was young I loved taking things, mixing them together, and seeing what I could create,” said Paul Burns, Fireclay’s Founder and Chief Ceramicist. “For the past fifteen years my mission at Fireclay has been to maintain the beauty and high quality of our ceramic tile while offsetting local Bay Area waste materials. When I first started approaching people to see if I could purchase their waste materials they thought I was crazy. Now that we have demonstrated success, those conversations have become easier.”

Manufactured in Northern California, Fireclay Tile’s recycled tile products, including the Debris Series and Express Series, will now feature over 70 percent locally sourced recycled materials. These materials include recycled waste glass made up of bag-house dust collected from Strategic Materials in San Leandro, recycled granite dust from Granite Rock, recycled spent abrasives leftover from cleaning the Hetch Hetchy water pipes that transport water to the City of San Francisco from Yosemite Valley, and now recycled porcelain from San Francisco and San Jose. All products are handmade within Fireclay's day-lit, open air factory where the company reuses everything including clays, glazes and waste water. The result is a beautiful, unique ceramic clay body containing more post-consumer and pre-consumer waste than any other tile on the market.

“It’s fantastic to see California small business and local municipalities working together to tackle big issues,” said Eric Edelson, Fireclay’s Vice President. “Not only should we demand all companies take these type of earth-smart steps, but the more consumers see companies being successful in doing in doing it the more they will require it. LEED building code is one step toward this, but ultimately it will be up to individual purchasers to really force companies to take steps to manufacture locally using environmentally friendly techniques and materials.”

The first shipment of recycled porcelain arrived at Fireclay in September 2010, with the second shipment about a month later. Fireclay ultimately hopes to establish similar partnerships with Oakland, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and any other California waste municipality that is interested.

About Fireclay Tile: Founded in 1986 by its Chief Ceramicist, Paul Burns, Fireclay Tile (www.fireclaytile.com) makes the highest quality, most durable and aesthetic hand-made ceramic materials using “old world” methods that are unique, affordable, and “green.” The company is based in San Jose, CA where it manufactures and sells its products including Debris Series Recycled Tile, Vitrail Series Handmade Tile, Claymonde Ceramic Sheets, and now its Express Series Quickship Tile. Since inception, the company has been at the forefront of innovation in the ceramic industry, and today the company is proud to be sold nationally in over 130 tile and eco-friendly showrooms and be used by some of the most well respected brands including Whole Foods Markets. In addition, all products are LEED compliant and contribute to LEED's construction credits. Fireclay Tile’s up-cycling and manufacturing efforts are also being supported by a grant awarded by the California Department of Conservation. Fireclay Tile aims to be a triple-bottom line company and ensure we take the environment into account in every decision we make and offer all of our employees a fare wage and benefits. To learn more about Fireclay Tile, please visit the company at www.fireclaytile.com.