Nov. 30, 2010
This year Fireclay Tile teamed up with the Zanker Road Recycling Center (San Jose, CA) and Recology (San Francisco, CA) to begin a new recycling effort with waste porcelain. We first blogged about this effort here, and the ultimate goal is to increase the recycled content of our Debris Series Recycled Tile from 62% to over 70%, while taking the total post-consumer recycled content to over 50% of the clay body.
NPR covered this effort on its Morning Edition show on Tuesday, November 30, 2010.
Click here to see the full story.
We spent a day with NPR on site at the Zanker Road Recycling Center in San Jose, CA and at Fireclay's Factory in Aromas, CA. Below are some picutres from the day highlighting both the people and the process. As you will see getting to where we are today has taken a lot of work, and recycling waste materials is no easy task. Some may argue that "recycling" in general is inefficient, but in this case, the alternative is digging and excavating dirt and then packaging and transporting it, so we think the trade off is worthwhile and beneficial to all parties involved.
Michael Gross (Zanker Road) and Paul Burns (Fireclay Tile)
Waste Porcelain - Comprised of bathtubs, vanities, and toilets
Containers holding waste porcelain. Over 8 months Zanker Road had removed over 17 containers, or 150 tons of waste procelain from the waste stream
Waste porcelain beings processing. Here a GIANT crane is moving the porcelain from containers onto crushing platform
Zanker's crushing machine would process all 150 tons in one morning
Final processing at Zanker Road included sorting the Porcelain based on size
At Fireclay Tile's factory, our crushing machine would again process the waste porcelain into even finer particles.
The final product. Half of these tiles contian the recycld porcelain and the other ones do not. We specifically developed this product formula so no colors would be altered, as is evidenced by this photo. People also always ask about sanitation, but since we double fire our materials using natural gas at over 1800 degrees fahrenheit, sanitation is not a problem.
Special thanks for Zanker Road and Recology for their contributions to this effort and to NPR for taking the time to cover what we think is a fantastic story.
Nov. 5, 2010
Note: The original inspiration and many quotes for this blog was taken from Greenerprinter's blog post here. Fireclay is a consumer of Greenerprinter products, namely business cards and some marketing materials, and we have great respect for their business.
"Big news: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently released recommendations for revised guidelines on green marketing claims. This development has important implications for both online and print marketing materials, and is intended to “prevent deception and unfairness in the marketplace” when properly implemented.
Perhaps the most significant change to the existing guidelines is the FTC’s advice to marketers not to use general terms such as “environmentally friendly” and “eco-friendly.” The FTC is also proposing guidance on marketers’ use of product certifications and seals of approval, claims for renewable energy.
Read more specifics on the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, a section by section breakdown with examples on appropriate use of marketing terms, here and here.
According to Environmental Leader, a quality online resource for green business news, the FTC has already brought to light seven environmental advertising enforcement actions under the Obama administration – including actions against Kmart Corp., Tender Corp. and Dyna-E International – for making false and unsubstantiated claims. In the case of these three national companies, they had made misleading claims that their paper products were biodegradable (all products, in fact, will biodegrade given enough time).
According to the Ecolabel Index, there are currently 349 seals and certifications for marketing green products in 213 countries worldwide. It’s not surprising then that the FTC has chosen to take on the gargantuan duty of tightening up America’s own regulations. These regulations are forcing green businesses to be aware of both current and proposed guidelines, and through them deepen their marketing messages by substantiating and specifying their green efforts, whenever mentioned in their marketing effors.
It is unclear how the FTC will be enforcing the new guidelines against small businesses, but it is always a prudent idea to follow marketing guidelines no matter what stage your business is in." - Greenerprinter.com
Fireclay Tile is a small company that does not have the pleasure of large marketing budgets that can outweigh or cover up our actual sustainabiltiy and environmental efforts. Similarly, we don't have numerous certifications or guarantees, but rather value transparency and hard work to ensure what we are doing makes the most sense for our customers and our environment. Thus, we make every attempt fully disclose everything that we do, and we do this with pages outlining our sustainability efforts or detailed videos highlighting our manufacturing or how we incorporate recycled materials into our products.
Some of the key things that we do for which we are proud are as follows:
- Manufacture our materials here in the USA
- Incorporate both post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled materials into many of our products. Unlike many of our competitors, these materials are always sourced from other places, and we never count our own manufacturing waste into our %'s. Furthermore, we use all locally sourced recycled materials. The VAST majority of what people call "recycled" tile these days are produced in China, Spain, Germany, and other locations, especially when it comes to glass.
- Recycle almost all of our own waste water, waste glaze, and waste materials back into our materials
- Day-lit factory and on site recycling efforts
- Retrofitted factory lighting with energy efficient lighting in factory and headquarters
- Use recycled materials for our packaging
"FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed guidelines through December 10, 2010. To submit your comments during the public comment period, please use the Federal Trade Commission Comment Form located on their website."
Thanks to Greenerprinter for making us aware of this important issue.
Nov. 3, 2010
By Eric Edelson
Yesterday Fireclay Tile had the priveledge of joining ~25 other companies at the Pacific Community Ventures 2010 Showcase and Luncheon. It was a fantastic event full of great companies, amazing supporters, and a group from Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) that can't be beat.
We've written about PCV before on the topic of "Creative Solutions to Help Fund Your Business", but for those who need a quick refresher PCV both a financial investor in and business advisor to sustainable, California-based businesses. Fireclay, specifically, is involved in PCV's Business Advance program, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit that consults to for-profit companies, the theory being that creating value in for-profit small business is the single best way to drive job creation and economic growth in the United States. Almost every study supports this, and PCV's mission is to encourage small businesses to grow and thrive.
One thing we loved at yesterday's event was the honoring of George Beardsley, one of PCV's most respected network of advisors. George spent time with Fireclay in 2009, and seeing him honored for his efforts was fantastic!
Also at yesterday's luncheon PCV showcased 25 companies in which it has either invested or helped advise. This 25 represents just a small fraction of the total companies that PCV has helped.
Some of the companies that we got to hang out with and liked were:
Evergreen Lodge: Amazing retreat just outside Yosemite Valley
Rickshaw Bagworks: Started by the founder of Timbuk2. Awesome bags for every day use
Pacific Catch: Delicious seafood that is fast and affordable in the Bay Area
SFMade: Founded by Kate Sofis, a good friend of Fireclay's, this group hopes to bring more manufacturing to San Francisco. We love this!
Parties that Cook: Super fun way to do a corporate bonding event by cooking a meal together
Charles Chocolates: A San Francisco favorite.
Neococoa: Another awesome chocolate maker
Heath Ceramics: We love their pottery.
Fireclay showcased a table with a streaming video on our Debris Series Recycled Tile as well as a FREE gift for all supporters of PCV, something which the crowd seemed to like. We had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. A big thank you to PCV for their efforts and for everything they've done! The event was fantastic, and to Kendra and the rest of the team who helped organize, job well done!