At Raft we’re big fans of combining sustainability with beauty. It informs everything we do, so we’re delighted to profile Alusid, a unique tile company with just the same ethos.
Remember when everything seemed simpler, when drinks always came in bottles made from glass and the Pacific Ocean was free of plastic islands? It turns out that the glass bottles our parents put back out for the milkman or took to the corner shop to get their sixpence and shilling deposits back were actually a high point in sustainable packaging.
But it’s not all about bottles. Or jars, for that matter. Alusid, a company founded from a University of Central Lancashire academic project on “The Aesthetic of Waste”, have found a use for post-consumer glass that goes far beyond milk bottles or collecting pennies from grocers. Alusid transform it into premium surface and cladding products for interior design and architecture.
Unlike many other materials, glass does not degrade in the recycling process and is, therefore, endlessly recyclable – a property which could be better exploited in the UK, which only recycles about 50% of its glass. The main culprits are bars and restaurants, which send about 200,000 tonnes of glass into refill each year, and you and I, who tend to forget that jam or pasta sauce jars are glass too.
Smash the Cistern!
The other main ingredient is crushed porcelain rescued fromsanitaryware factory waste – so broken toilet bowls, cisterns and bathroom sinks that never made it in one piece out of the factory can now also be saved from landfill.
Alusid, who are based in Preston, mix this glass and porcelain with soda-lime glass, water and a bit of colour to create a range of tiles and other surfaces. All of Alusid’s products contain at least 98% recycled material but most important of all, they look gorgeous.
Unlike many similar-looking materials, Alusid use a very low environmental impact process with no resin, concrete or extraneous chemicals used, just a low-temperature heating process. There is no waste produced by the process, as everything left over is reintroduced back into the manufacturing process for the next batch.
Until recently, you had to specially commission Alusid to produce batches to specification – their list of past projects includes Nando’s HQ in Putney and a range of terrazzo surfaces for the Birmingham Bullring’s Selfridges store – but now they have launched a range of off-the-shelf ceramic wall tiles called, appropriately enough, Sequel.
Sequel tiles are available at the architectural tile specialists, Parkside in a range of three sizes and three classy colours: Shoreditch Blue, Paddington Pink and Greenwich Green.
Read more about Alusid’s story and browse their products at alusid.co.uk