By Sarah Peiper
With current conversations around climate change, environmental impact in processes and products, waste and natural resource conservation, manufacturers realize they have an obligation to do something about it and grow in a positive direction.
Crossville has a long history of sustainable practices dating all the way back to when the company first launched its operations in 1986. The leadership team has always known that responsible manufacturing is as much about good business as it is about being green. Recycling and reusing resources saves money and helps the environment; it’s a true win-win approach.
In 2009, Crossville launched the Tile Take-Back program, which helps collect and recycle millions of pounds of fired, post-consumer porcelain tile every year in the United States.
Through Tile Take-Back, Crossville recycles previously installed tile collected from its distribution network, as well as scraps that result from cutting during installation, sizing or sample creation. The program expanded in 2011 to include a partnership with TOTO USA to recycle pre-consumer fired porcelain toilets that do not meet quality standards. Prior to the partnership, these cast-offs were being sent to landfills for disposal, but now they have been recycled to manufacture new tile.
By March of 2011, Crossville became a net consumer of waste, meaning they recycle more waste into new products than they generate through their manufacturing processes—a giant leap in the right direction.
In 2018, Crossville launched the product series, Retro Active 2.0, which was the first tile to be certified as environmentally friendly. One step further, it was the recipient of the Living Product Challenge Petal Certification, a recognition program led by the International Living Future Institute.
The Living Product Certification Program includes 20 different imperatives, called petals, and this program has been adopted by a variety of leading manufacturers across all industries. The application process alone is quite an achievement, and the overall result emphasizes how committed Crossville is to make a positive impact on the environment.
Crossville sees that manufacturing sustainable materials is an opportunity to grow the business and get ahead of consumer trends—to be a relevant source for responsible products. Using the Living Product Challenge framework, consumers can choose products that are free of toxins and created in a conscientious way. For Crossville, the Living Product Challenge was about finding the balance between doing the right thing and delivering on what the market is asking for.
Every piece of tile Crossville produces contains recycled material. Each tile is produced with clean, recycled water to lessen the demand of new materials and water supply. As a matter of fact, Crossville reuses more than 99 percent of water used in manufacturing processes.
In addition, Crossville has earned Green Squared certification from the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) for its entire U.S.-manufactured porcelain product lineup as well as its manufacturing processes. The company is one of the first recipients of this certification standard for the tile industry. TCNA developed the Green Squared certification under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process.
Crossville constantly monitors Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to ensure their sustainable products and practices meet or exceed requirements set by the U.S. Green Building Council.
In 2020, Crossville recycled 4,939,251 lbs. of fired porcelain, bringing the company’s cumulative recycling total to more than 139 million lbs. since the launch of the Tile Take-Back program and subsequent TOTO USA recycling partnership.
All 139 million lbs. of the recycled material Crossville has diverted from landfills have been or will be introduced into the tile production process. This use of recycled material during manufacturing results in Crossville maintaining its status as a net consumer of waste for a ninth consecutive year.
And it doesn’t stop there. In 2020, Crossville removed 2,421,873 lbs. of filtrate solids from dirty water and recycled it back into tile production.
Now floating around in Washington is the CLEAN Future Act, which will continue to drive momentum in sustainability efforts. But regardless of federal legislation, change is happening at the state level across the country where local governments are setting limits for carbon footprints and encouraging the development of products that reduce environmental impact. You can be certain Crossville aims to stay at the forefront of environmentally friendly manufacturing and product development.
For more information about all of Crossville’s sustainability practices, visit www.crossvilleinc.com/Resources/Sustainability.