Ceramic tiles for the circular economy - how possibility becomes reality

The circular economy is an old custom. Recycling and reuse are not new concepts: it was common practice among Charlemagne’s builders. They had stone blocks removed from Roman buildings in the Eifel, Lorraine and the surrounding area to build Aachen Cathedral. With a great deal of effort, the stones were transported to Aachen and used for the cathedral (source: bvse). What worked 1,200 years ago should also work today. It is the only way of avoiding 200 million tonnes of building rubble each year, and conserving primary raw materials.

It’s possible without adhesive. The re:use approach is simply impossible with many permanently fitted materials. This also applies to ceramic tiles. The attempt to remove the tiles often results in them breaking and then they can only be recycled. Agrob Buchtal has developed an innovative new system to lay tiles dry, without the need for adhesive. This is environmentally friendly and is eight times faster than traditional methods. And when the building is torn down, the tiles can be removed undamaged.

Clever: cork layer instead of mortar bed. A polyolefin- based cork mixture is applied to the back of the ceramic tile. Thanks to the intrinsic weight of the DryTile tiles, the layer adheres to the substrate and firmly attaches itself. The result: no mortar bed, no adhesive, no primer. The fact that the cork protrudes slightly at the edge of the tile produces a precise joint gap. A special grouting compound provides stability and a sealed surface. When the tiles are to be removed, the joints are simply cut open and the tiles are removed with a suction jack. Dry laying with DryTile can also be used in conjunction with a cavity floor system. The entire construction is quick to install and can be fully dismantled and refitted if required.

Do ceramic tiles offer circularity? According to the German Circular Economy Act (KrWG), buildings should continuously reuse or recycle their individual components and parts. The act defines in a 5-stage waste hierarchy what needs to be considered:

  1. Waste prevention by the retention and refurbishment of old buildings
  2. Recovery and reuse of components
  3. Recycling
  4. Other uses, such as incineration, to generate heat and electricity
  5. Disposal/landfill

DryTile comes off particularly well here. The ceramic tile for dry installation enables a high-quality floor to be fitted with all the benefits of ceramic. Robust and durable, DryTile will retain its radiance and colour even after decades. The heavy-duty and almost wear-free system is simple to remove and recycle. Drytile Ceramics is therefore revolutionising floors, supporting the core objectives of the re:use initiative and offering a real innovation for sustainable building designs and the will to renovate and refurbish existing building stock.

DryTile Teaser
drytile-edeka Ostbevern

We are aware of the urgency of sustainable construction. That is why we are a member of the German Society for Sustainable Building (DGNB). At the same time, we are working hard to reduce the impact of our production on the environment and climate. This includes improving internal processes as well as the research and development of new products.

– Daniel Schreiner, Head of Product Management and Design Development at Deutsche Steinzeug brands and Managing Director of Drytile Ceramics GmbH.

Should the Drytile floor need to be disposed of, then you can do so as harmless mineral construction waste. The system is the winner of the Green Product Award 2020.