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.
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.