Sustainability is not just a buzzword anymore. As more and more companies are making a commitment to eco-friendly and ethical production, it is clear that sustainability will not only shape the future of our planet, but also the future of design.

However, sustainability is not just for companies to lead. A growing number of people are invested in selecting sustainable products to decorate and furnish their homes that won’t compromise natural resources or reduce negative effects on the environment. Making sustainable choices when renovating or decorating your home is much easier as eco-friendly methods of production become more common, and transparent.

Looking to design your space with ethically made, sustainable products? From using upcycled materials to promoting local manufacturing, the tile industry is a clear leader when it comes to pushing the envelope to produce sustainable tiles. Look for products and companies that are making sustainability and best green practices a priority when deciding where to buy. Let’s explore different types of sustainable tile and why it’s easier than ever to design an eco-friendly home.

More Than Just DIY: Upcycled Tile

Most people are familiar with the term “upcycling” from the world of arts and crafts: taking an old cabinet or a damaged table, and with a little imagination and a few coats of paint giving them new life. But the process of “upcycling” is not reserved only for DIYers – some tile manufacturers are putting creative reuse to use, producing beautiful new products in a much more sustainable way.

Rather than relying on raw materials to create new products, some companies create tile from upcycled materials – materials that have lived their lives and can now be used to create something new instead of heading to the landfill.

TileBar’s Swim Collection features a line of upcycled glass tiles with a unique manufacturing story: these Spanish-made glass mosaics are made from the colorful remnants of a local glass factory, molten into fresh and modern tile. The Swim line isn’t only sustainable, with 98% upcycled glass content, it is also fabulous – offered in more than 10 dazzling colorways.

Used, Then Used Again: Recycled Tile

More and more companies are looking into their own manufacturing processes, finding opportunities for reusing materials, creating more sustainable products, and saving time and money while they do that. Tile that is made of recycled materials transfers the responsibility from the consumer to the manufacturer, providing an eco-friendly product while cleaning their own methods of production and creating less waste.

Products such as TileBar’s Artwood Collection are made of a high percentage of pre-consumer recycled content, reducing waste on the manufacturer’s side. Pre-consumer recycled content is usually made from manufacturer waste that never made it to the actual consumer – things like scraps, trimmings, or rejected products, are then repurposed to something new rather than being trashed. Another example from the TileBar selection is the TruTech Collection, a series of through-body porcelain tiles made of a high percentage of pre-consumer recycled content.

Both the Artwood and the TruTech tiles hold another big, and sustainable, advantage: porcelain. Replicating natural materials, these collections create stylish looks that require much less maintenance and reduce the use of natural resources such as wood or marble stone. Made of a dense, fine-grained formula, porcelain is one of the most durable and long-lasting materials out there. Porcelain tiles can endure high-traffic and challenging environments with little to no maintenance necessary, reducing waste by promoting high-quality standards.

Keeping it Close to Home: Buying Local

Tiles are heavy. Really heavy! The cost to transport these heavy materials across land and sea can be costly and require quite a bit of fossil fuel consumption just to move products from their manufacturing site to distribution, and finally to your home.

By shopping materials that are made closer to home, you are not just supporting local economies, but you are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the energy required to deliver tile to your door.

Tiles made in the U.S. are made with the highest quality materials and an emphasis on sustainability and innovation. TileBar is proud to carry a diverse selection of American-made tile, ranging from thin porcelain slabs to ceramic quarry tiles, that does not only promote industry-leading quality but also an eco-friendly approach.

Opting for Sustainability? Design with Tile

Unlike so many products that require extensive maintenance and even replacement sooner than expected, tile is a great choice when it comes to sustainable interior design and decorating. Most tile is made from natural elements that create durability and performance and longevity that can far outlast the competition. Incorporating tile in your design is a good way to replace other, less sustainable, decor elements.

When looking for sustainable tile, consider where it’s made, what is the material, and what its expected lifecycle. Long-lasting tiles, made of natural materials such as stone or ceramics, and locally made, offer an eco-friendly and stylish alternative for a well-designed AND sustainable space.