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Since 1972, McIntyre Tile has been employing the most environmentally responsible manufacturing methods available. At the start, we recycled an old wooden prune-drying building in Healdsburg, California into a small factory. Nearly 40 years later, we make all of our tile in the same facilities.
In general, materials that make up any ceramic product are inexpensive clays and minerals that most people would refer to as dirt or rocks. To a potter these materials can be precious. Our manufacturing systems are continually being adjusted to insure that those invaluable materials are used with utmost efficiency and conservation. We realize that when we take part of the Earth’s crust and fire it into tile, we have made something that has the potential to last as long as our planet. We consider that a humbling responsibility and take great pride in producing tiles of timeless beauty; tiles that upon closer examination are merely the ground we walk on recycled into a simple building material.
We consider recycling in three ways: first by formulating our clay bodies utilizing post-industrial waste materials that we purchase, second by processing internally produced scrap materials back into our clay bodies, and third by finding special markets for tiles that do not meet our exacting specifications.
The post-industrial waste materials that we use are ground brick and marble dust and can account for up to 50% of our clay body. Prior to being subjected to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit in our kilns, the materials that comprise our clays and glazes are blended with water. Clay manufactured but not used in tiles can be collected as scrap and recycled back into the production loop prior to firing. 99% of all scrap clay generated in the tile forming process is recycled back into new tile. 80% of all glaze over-spray is collected and recycled. When combining these factors, the resulting recycled content of any of our tile ranges between 50% and 85%. At present, we are not quite a closed-loop manufacturing facility and we still generate a small amount of material that cannot be reclaimed and must be discarded. However, our waste material is inert and non-hazardous and we are currently developing new products that will incorporate all of that material.
Tiles that do not meet our exacting standards for quality also find good homes. Virtually all our fired tiles are put to practical use. Cosmetic seconds are sold at the factory to buyers from all over northern California and beyond for use as a beautiful and practical surface material. Thirds and broken tiles are provided to artists and schools for use in public and private mosaic work.