Challenges of Recycled Materials
Using recycled materials to make new products poses a number of challenges not necessarily faced by manufacturers that use virgin materials.
“Many of the challenges that come with using recycled materials are related to supply. With post-consumer waste materials, every batch of raw goods is different,” Burns says.
Sometimes these differences can lead to variations in the finished product or affect the way a color comes out. But Fireclay has been hand-molding tiles using recycled materials for the past 12 years, so their experience allows them to anticipate and resolve difficulties.
If Fireclay’s Kickstarter campaign is any indication, consumers are interested in using unique recycled materials.
“There is a special beauty and luster to the tiles made from CRT glass,” Burns says. “Customers react enthusiastically to the look of the tile and then appreciate the story behind the product.”
By creating products with compelling stories, Fireclay has become a company with a compelling story of its own. Employees rethink waste and find new uses for materials others would likely overlook. Fireclay focuses on a triple bottom line by taking the environment and their employees into consideration in all of their work.
Next page: A History of Sustainability