Recycling construction materials

Recycling tiles and board from construction projects


Tile and board materials used in the construction industry include:

  • ceramic wall and floor tiles
  • slate, glass, marble, stone and porcelain wall and floor tiles
  • panelboard products - eg medium density fibreboard (MDF) or chipboard

The amount of tiles wasted during installation is around:

  • 8 to 10 per cent for wall and floor tiles
  • 1 to 5 per cent waste for flooring tiles
  • 5 to 10 per cent for rolls of flooring

The main causes of wastage from tiles and board include off-cuts, breakages and over ordering.

Recycling options for tiles and board

The processes used to recycle tiles and board are:

  • Fibresolve - subjecting wood fibre to a vacuum and pressurised steam with mechanical agitation at a high temperature
  • Microrelease - using microwaves to reclaim wood fibres from the resin
  • thermohydrolic processes - separating the adhesive from the wood fibres
  • composting

However, there are limitations to recycling tiles and board. These material types are rarely recovered due to the short timescales for planning and carrying out demolition work.

Making changes to your site operations

You can make simple yet effective changes to your site's operations to allow more tiles and board to be recycled by:

  • planning slower demolition periods
  • providing staff with training in handling
  • recovering materials and not sending them to landfill
  • improving transport procedures

Potential end uses for recovered tiles and board

Recovered tiles and board can be used in applications and materials including:

  • reusing tiles as reclaimed materials
  • recycling into aggregate
  • producing mineral fibre acoustic ceiling tiles

You can find licensed waste sites to recycle or dispose of tiles and board.