Inspiration and DIY Use Glass Tile and Recycled Materials for an Eco-Friendly Home Design

Photo features Atlantic Blend 3/4 x random linear mosaic on vanity wall.
 
 

USE GLASS TILE AND RECYCLED MATERIALS FOR AN ECO-FRIENDLY HOME DESIGN

Tile has always been considered an eco-friendly flooring choice, but today's wider range of styles and materials take green home design to the next level. If you're looking for sustainable, earth-conscious flooring for your home, ceramic, porcelain, and glass tile products are a great place to start. They're sourced from natural materials such as clay, sand, and natural stone, and are easily cleaned and maintained, which promotes a healthy indoor environment. In addition to flooring, tiles can be used as wall coverings, counter and table tops, and exterior patios. The latest generation of tile combines innovative technological advances with a wider range of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. Therefore, taking advantage of tile's eco-friendliness never means sacrificing quality or design.

The Eco-Friendly Characteristics of Glass Tile

Glass tiles are now a huge trend for backsplashes due to their translucence, reflective properties, and durability. In addition to their innate beauty, these trendy tiles also have serious eco-friendly credibility. What makes glass such an environmental showstopper? The first trait many tile shoppers look for is recycled content. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of recycled glass has increased from 750,000 tons per year in 1980 to over three million tons in 2012. Glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials, and some glass does eventually make its way into mosaic tiles. In fact, many of Daltile's glass tiles contain pre- and post- recycled materials. As more glass is recycled and the process grows more efficient, designers are finding new ways to incorporate glass into consumer and home design products.

Using Recycled Glass to Make New Glass Tile

One of the basic ingredients in most glass is actually recycled glass. The material is made of sand, soda, and crushed recycled glass called cullet. When cullet is added into the mixture, it prevents the need to harvest additional raw materials from the earth. The ingredients for glass are crushed and fused together at high temperatures to create new tiles. Because the basic ingredients are plentiful and easy to obtain, glass is considered a sustainable tile choice.

Recycled Materials Avoid Landfills

Another reason why recycled contents are so important to those searching for green home products is that any reused or recycled material does not end up in a landfill. Shoppers often seek out which tile products contain the highest amount of recycled content and will compare percentages between products and brands. If you're concerned about recycled materials, Glass Horizons tiles are a great choice. This line of tile contains a high level of recycled content: up to 98 percent pre-consumer and 82 percent post-consumer. Search Daltile products by recycled content here.

Photo features Pacific Blend 3/4 x random linear mosaic on wall.

Aside from glass, ceramic and porcelain tiles may also contain recycled content. At Daltile, 98 percent of the products offered contain pre-consumer recycled content, which is composed of byproducts from other products' manufacturing processes. These were the first porcelain tiles to incorporate both pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content.

The Unmatched Longevity of Tile

Longevity is often viewed as an eco-friendly design characteristic because it preserves raw materials and natural resources. Products with shorter life cycles than tile require more frequent replacement and will exhaust more manufacturing materials. With its 50-year expected life span, ceramic tile actually costs less per year than most other flooring choices, making it great option for homeowners looking to place eco-friendly flooring throughout their home. Installing tile means you'll probably never have to worry about replacing it. Thanks to intense durability, tile products also resist water infiltration, requiring less repairs or replacements than other flooring options.

Tiles Promote Healthy Indoor Air Quality

In recent years, the demand for products with lower Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has increased. VOCs can be released into the air during a product installation or painting and are believed to be harmful at high levels. Tiles manufactured by Daltile are subjected to testing and have been documented to have "no detectable emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds."

Another concern when measuring indoor air quality is mold and mildew buildup in areas of the home with higher humidity, such as bathrooms. Ceramic and porcelain tiles have demonstrated exceptional water resistance, which is why they have always been highly recommended for bath and kitchen areas. The smooth texture of glass tile also makes this material resistant to stains.

Photo features Decora Glass Block 8 x 8 x 4, End Block and Encurve. Also shown Scabos in Walnut 8 x 10 and 12 x 12 field tile.

Tile maintenance must be considered when it comes to assessing indoor air quality. Because allergenic materials, such as dust and pollen, are easily swept off of tile floors, they are more easily prevented from entering a home's general air circulation. Additionally, the cleaning process for tile is very basic and eco-friendly. Harsh chemicals that emit strong odors generally aren't required (or recommended) to clean tiled floors and walls. Most often, warm water and a mild soap works perfectly. Always consult the manufacturer's recommendations before using chemical cleaner on your tile.

Eco-Friendly Manufacturing Practices

Sustainable, eco-friendly manufacturing processes should be evaluated as part of any buyer's analysis when choosing green home products. The manufacturing process for tile is designed to produce very minimal waste. Daltile has made the implementation of sustainable manufacturing processes a company-wide priority. One key way Daltile is engaging in eco-friendly manufacturing practices is by reusing up to 100 percent of wastewater in its facilities. Renewable energy sources are also utilized when creating new tiles. In fact, Daltile's operations conserve enough energy to provide electricity for over 1,700 homes and natural gas for over 6,000 homes annually.

Reducing or reusing byproducts of tile manufacturing is another concern. For all tile products, Daltile recycles as much of the byproducts as possible through state programs. The reusable materials are passed along to other manufacturers to make building products like bricks and cement.

Tile has always been an eco-friendly flooring choice, even before consumers began pointedly seeking its green characteristics. In recent years, innovation and technological improvements have bettered tile flooring and wall options, especially those that maximize recycled content and are crafted using sustainable production methods. If you're interesting in learning more about the eco-friendly characteristics of tile, visit Daltile's Greenworks website for more specific information.