Sustainability seems to be the hot term at the moment with many companies now pushing towards creating more sustainable products within their lineups. We're all for this here at Reclaimed Brick-Tile. We have long been pioneers on the sustainability front by taking old reclaimed bricks and giving them a new lease of life as our reclaimed brick slips.
The production of new bricks and brick slips can be an energy intense process with clay brick kilns having to burn at temperatures over 1000degrees for prolonged periods of time to form the strength and durability needed for all new bricks. With the ever increasing cost of energy, the production of new bricks and brick slips becomes increasingly costly and less sustainable each year.
According to the Brick Development Associations Sustainability Report 2021, the raw materials and production of new bricks outputs 213kg of CO2 per tonne. They also state that the reuse and recycling of bricks at the end of their life has an output of just 16kg of CO2 per tonne. In the construction industry, the amount of bricks used in a single project can be quite high. This is a point of concern for the construction industry, as each year, approximately four billion tonnes of bricks are used in building projects around the world.
However, the brick industry is moving towards more sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. There are now a range of alternative bricks available in the market, such as bricks made from recycled glass and other materials. This is leading to an increase in the use of bricks that can be recycled at the end of the life of the project.
We are unique within the brick slip industry as we specialise in the use of reclaimed bricks. Our reclaimed brick slips are cut from bricks that have reached the end of their intended life and are taken from demolition projects around the North West of England. These bricks have gained character which can only be achieved from years of natural weathering. Many new brick slip manufacturers are now trying to emulate the look of reclaimed bricks within their new brick slip ranges. These alternatives may look slightly similar to original reclaimed bricks but don’t have the sustainability benefits that come from real reclaimed brick slips.
Going from the reclaimed bricks arriving into our factory to the final brick slips that our customers receive does have an energy footprint of it’s own. We as a company, have made efforts to reduce this energy output and increase the sustainability of the end product. Here are some of the steps taken during our production process.
Closed Loop Water System
Our cutting saws need to be fed with a water feed to ensure that brick dust is kept to a minimum and to assist the blades when cutting the bricks. We have invested in a state of the art Closed Loop Water System which reuses the same water again and again rather than having to use a constant freshwater supply. This system greatly reduces our water consumption and helps to cut down on the amount of emissions created by our factory.
Fully Recyclable Packaging
Many years ago we made the concise decision to always use recyclable cardboard boxes for the packaging of our brick slip orders and samples. All our boxes are made from 100% recycled materials. Many brick slip companies now use a polystyrene box for the shipping of their brick slips. These do offer additional protection in transit but we never liked the fact that they were not environmentally friendly and difficult for our end users to recycle after their project was completed.
Brick Waste Recycled Again
During the cutting process of our brick slips, we are left with the middle section of the brick that cannot be cut again to create another brick slip. This section of brick is essentially a pure clay product that can be recycled again. We have partnered with the green roof specialists Sky Garden who reuse this section of the brick as a natural substrate material that is used in the construction of their green roofs. Over the past year, Sky Garden have fitted an average of 150,000m2 of ecologically biodiverse green roofs which look great and also push the boundaries in sustainability.
Here at Reclaimed Brick-Tile, we are always looking at ways we can further improve the sustainability of our brick slip products and the steps we have to take to produce them.
In conclusion, we need to start thinking about the long term and how we can make our planet a better place for generations to come.
The introduction of more sustainable products will mean that not only are we making a difference in the present, but we’re setting up future generations for success as well.