The ceramic tile industry, like many other sectors, along its life cycle generates a series of environmental impacts, relating to the consumption of natural resources – energy, water, emissions to air resulting from the thermal processes (drying and firing) and cold processes (processes before shaping), emissions of industrial and domestic effluents, production of waste and noise as well as synthetic materials.
The need to develop more environmentally friendly products given the numerous environmental impacts deriving from this sector, shows the importance of establishing a more environmentally conscious industry, starting with the production process and product life cycle.
This drive has been the focus for Ceramic Industries who has made an important breakthrough in eco-ceramic tile production, drawing on local expertise, and using locally sourced raw materials.
The result is EcoTec, a range of tiles made using 10% fewer natural resources, but with strengths well above SABS requirements – a combination that has significant, positive consequences when it comes to the environment.
Environmental responsibility is one of the values that underpins our ethos,” says Lance Foxcroft, CEO of the proudly South African manufacturer with a 40-year history.
EcoTec tiles came about through the company’s research, which asked the question: would it be possible to create high-quality, strong tiles using fewer natural resources? To answer this tough brief, the production team had to rethink manufacturing techniques and use new technologies.
New techniques have allowed for a reduction in the mass of clay required per square metre, while heat and water recycling at the factory reduce the environmental impact of these tiles. “It’s a real achievement to have made a tile with such impressive strength ratings, but that’s in fact thinner and lighter than was previously possible,” says Foxcroft.
A thinner tile has important environmental consequences beyond manufacture. More EcoTec tiles can be packed in a single box than traditional tiles, reducing the packaging requirements. What’s more, they’re lighter to transport, which means a saving in CO2 emissions.
“We’ve already seen a positive demand for these tiles in the market,” says Foxcroft. “South Africans have become much more conscious of the environmental impact of the products they buy, which forms part of our values.” Currently EcoTec is offered in four sizes, but with their growing popularity, Ceramic Industries will be developing additional ranges.
EcoTec is not merely a new product but represents a shift in thinking in ceramic tile manufacture.
It is the result of a holistic approach that considers the entire lifecycle of the product – from raw materials, to manufacture, to transportation. And since they are designed to be durable, their positive ecological qualities will continue to live on in customers’ homes for years to come.
For more information, contact Ceramic Industries:
Tel: +27 (16) 930 3600
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