Recycling Lives and UCLan working together in ceramic recycling innovation

From the University of Central Lancashire

UCLan and Recycling Lives to produce unique eco-friendly building material

Ceramic experts from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have teamed up with local commercial recycler and social welfare charity Recycling Lives to create a unique eco-material that can be used in architecture and interior design.

Reader in contemporary ceramics David Binns and Dr Alasdair Bremner from the Silicates Research Unit within the School of Art, Design and Performance at UCLan, have combined recycled glass and ceramics to create a sustainable and unique product that is made from up to 100 percent recycled waste.

They are now working with Preston based Recycling Lives, which provides all the recycled glass needed, to manufacture the material on a commercial basis to be used as a high-value sustainable material in the building and interior design industries.  All products can be custom made from a fusion of recycled glass and ceramic material for use as kitchen worktops, building cladding and other architectural designs.

David Binns commented: “We’ve developed this product using ceramics and crushed recycled glass and use heat to combine them, which makes it more eco-friendly than similar products that are bound together using resin.  It also means that the material we produce is still recyclable.”

Launched as a family business more than 40 years ago, Recycling Lives has evolved into a market a leader in the recycling and waste management sector. The company also runs an innovative residential scheme that offers training and work experience opportunities for vulnerable members of society.

Dave Allen, Development Manager from Recycling Lives, commented: “We have worked on a number of projects that have utilised waste glass and this product is certainly the most exciting we have seen.  We are thrilled about the future of this project.”

David and Alasdair’s research into the unique eco-friendly material was funded through a £198,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  They have already attracted interest at several international exhibitions, including one at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and are currently looking for suitable premises to launch the business.

David Binns added: “We received overwhelming interest from architects and designers looking to use our new material in a diverse range of projects. Clients ranged from a buyer for B&Q interested in high volume mass-produced sustainable tile products, through to an architect from Foster Partners and designers looking for unique bespoke products for exclusive clients.”