Tiled floors are an affordable option and a natural choice to improve the aesthetics of any living or work space. As homeowners become more environmentally aware, demand for sustainable, or “green,” products has given rise to a new type of tiled flooring, one that comprises anywhere from 50 to 100% post-consumer recycled content. But, what are the benefits of using “green” tile?
- Tile has an average lifespan of 50+ years. The tile used in your home will likely outlast any other floor covering. Therefore, unlike some of the other floor covering options, tile won’t go into a landfill after 5 years. Because of this fact, tile also adds value to your home.
- No VOC – Tile is perfect for allergy sufferers. Tile is a healthy alternative to other flooring products because it does not emit any volatile organic compounds.
- Tile is easy to clean; generally only requiring soap and water (no harsh cleaners or chemicals).
- Tile is the least expensive long-term flooring option. Tile costs less per year than all other flooring finishes over the life of the home or business.
- Peace of mind –You know that by purchasing a “green” product you’re doing your part to protect the environment for future generations.
When shopping for recycled tiles, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Post-consumer = this is material (after the consumer has used it) that would have been sent to a landfill that has instead been used to produce the tile. This term is used to describe the percentage of recycled material used to make the tile. The most (100%) means that the entire tile is made from material that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. The greater the percentages of post-consumer recycled content, the better, if you are looking to go “green.” Also, be aware that a recycled content of less that 50% means that additional materials were added, generally to enhance the color. An example of a post-consumer product would be glass bottles from a local landfill.
- Pre-consumer = this is most often a byproduct originated from segregating fine residues during the processing of industrial sand. The original product may have been construction aggregates used in applications as aggregate for concrete, asphalt, railroad construction and others. This is material that would have otherwise been disposed of in some manner such as hauling it off and dumping it as a waste with the expensive, wasteful, environmental consequences. This material is diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Excluded is reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind, or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed with the same process that generated it.
- Pick the right product for the application. Recycled glass tiles are being produced in a wider assortment of colors and sizes, but they may not always be the right choice for your project. Be sure the tiles have been rated for floors. Like traditional ceramic tiles, glass tiles can crack and break if struck with a solid impact. If you are going to install glass tiles for flooring, make sure they have been tested and passed the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards and are rated for floor use.
Recycled tiles also carry the benefit of contributing to LEED certification for new buildings and major renovations. This makes them a smart flooring option for builders, remodelers, and homeowners seeking recognition for sustainable building practices.