Simple And Ingenious
LIFECERAM is a project that is dedicated to achieving zero-waste in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles.
This is relevant because, as the LIFECERAM’s website notes, "The estimated total amount of waste is more than 3 million tons per year. A significant percentage of these wastes can’t be recycled into the current ceramic products and processes due to the change in the behavior of the ceramic compositions during the manufacturing process and in the tile final properties."
Subsequently, an overwhelming portion of waste is destined for landfills, or it is used as fillers that have very low added value.
LIFECERAM was created to address this problem. The idea was to take the wastes from the manufacturing process and turn them into a 100% recycled urban paving product—resulting in zero waste.
Their two main objectives are to develop a new type of ceramic tile that incorporates manufacturing wastes (whether from ceramic and glass factories as well as power plants) into the body and glaze and may be used for outdoor paving, and to design a corresponding manufacturing process of these tiles that is highly sustainable and capable of recycling all ceramic wastes.
Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC) (which heads the project) research leader Javier Garcia says the outputs are good and the process is easy: “we have achieved the porosity, mechanical resistance and environmental properties we set out to, and the end product can be processed at existing industrial installations, meaning no changes to processes or equipment at ceramics plants are necessary.”
Zero Waste, More Products, Less Expenses
Apart from the aforementioned benefits, LIFECERAM says companies can expect a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, 30% savings in energy, 65% cut in water consumption, and a 20% cut-down from elimination of waste disposal expenses.
Given the results of the project, it seems that not only is the green initiative good for the environment, it can actually save a company more money while potentially being more profitable. Hopefully, this sets a global precedent.