Sustainable project focus – How recyclable are our bathroom products?

BathroomsFeatures Wed 19th Oct 2022 by Lisa Hibberd

Sustainable project focus – How recyclable are our bathroom products?

Sustainable project focus – How recyclable are our bathroom products?

Feature by Lisa Hibberd | Wed 19th Oct 2022

Lisa has a background in working on consumer titles, and as the former associate editor of Your Home magazine, over 15 years' experience writing about kitchens and bathrooms. She now works as a freelance, contributing to both consumer and B2B platforms. More

More and more products are being made from recyclable materials so eco-conscious homeowners can increase the sustainable credentials of their bathroom projects – Lisa Hibberd takes a look at how manufacturers are rising to the circularity challenge.

"Moving away from a linear economy into a circular economy is a viable solution to a sustainable future," says Paul Bailey, leader, product management, Lixil EMENA and Grohe UK. "Utilising materials and manufacturing processes that allow for every component of a product to be recycled down and reused is one of the best ways to increase the sustainable credentials of a bathroom project. Materials such as steel that are endlessly recyclable help to improve circularity during building and renovations, reducing waste in the future. At Grohe, we’ve been working towards circularity for a number of years and are proud to offer our Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold Level range. We’ve manufactured and re-designed four of our best-selling products to have the potential to be re-used endlessly, offering a whole new take on the concept of recycling."

Grohe’s Tempesta 100 shower rail set is part of its Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold Level range. The design principles enable Grohe to drastically reduce the use of new resources, as a product is designed and manufactured with the intent of using its components in its end-of-life-phase for the creation of new products, resulting in the ultimate sustainable solution

Boasting a contemporary design, premium precision finish and an extraordinary lifespan, Crosswater’s 3ONE6 range features a variety of brassware products, ranging from taps and bath fillers, to shower valves and soap dispensers. The three-hole basin set shown is made from 316 stainless steel which has a material composition of 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum, resulting in superior corrosion resistance, impact resistance, and durability, as well as being a sustainable raw material that is 100% recyclable. It can be regenerated and reused time and time again without any reduction in quality

As well as taking fewer baths to limit their water consumption, consumers are looking to sustainable materials for baths and shower trays, avoiding fibreglass and acrylic and opting for cast-iron, steel or resin instead. "Our baths, shower trays and washbasins are made from natural materials, with no plastic and can be completely recycled," explains Sven Rensinghoff of Bette. "They are also extremely easy to clean, with minimum resources required. Bette uses significant quantities of carbon-neutral, green steel in its manufacturing: over 55,000 products have been made using green steel since 2021, with no extra cost to customers."

With a depth of only 10mm, the BetteAir ‘shower tile’ from Bette integrates so perfectly into the floor that it is hardly noticeable. Made from natural materials, it’s so durable that it comes with a 30 year warranty and, when it does eventually come to the end of its life, is 100% recyclable

The latest addition to the hugely popular Space collection from Waters Baths of Ashbourne, the Skye shower bath is crafted from one piece of seamless 100% recyclable Lucite acrylic. Available in both left and right hand options, it hugs the wall and is designed to be used in conjunction with a shower screen

David Osborne, chief executive officer of Roman, agrees that using recycled materials is a key focus. "All the aluminium used in our production is 100% recycled before we use it and at the end of life it is extremely easy to recycle and re-use back at its original value. Likewise, our solid surface moulding and fabrication plants use material which is predominantly natural stone which can once again be reground back to its original value and be re-used. We embed circular economy principles throughout our supply chain, which is entirely focused upon very high levels of recycling before and after the life of a product. The brass we use for our hardware such as shower enclosure handles is 100% of recycled material before we use it without compromising on strength or functionality. We are also working very closely with our suppliers of glass for our products and expect to be close to 100% recycled content by 2023."

Roman’s Liberty hinged door with in-line panel with fluted glass, shown here in brushed brass finish, features trim made from 100% recycled aluminium. Other finishes available include matt black and polished nickel

Duravit’s first recyclable DuraSolid Nature shower tray, Sustano, features a flat, rimless design for installation flush with the floor. After the end of their useful life, Sustano shower trays can be returned either to Duravit or to a local recycling centre to keep within the life-cycle principle. The recycled materials can be reused to manufacture new shower trays or can be applied to industrial use

Fabiana Scavolini, CEO of Scavolini, recommends that the importance of choosing recycle materials should extend to furniture, too. "Designers should always select good-quality bathroom furniture that is made to last, and consider what its construction. For the carcases of our furniture we use only raw ecological panels made from 100% recycled wood. Not only does the material offer excellent durability and stability, it also has the lowest emissions of formaldehyde. Then at the end of the furniture’s life, can you recycle it? Our bathroom furniture has a product circularity of 96%."

Committed to sustainability, Scavolini uses only raw ecological panels made from 100% recycled wood for its furniture carcasses. Launched during Salone del Mobile 2022 in Milan, Jeometrica by features round wall panels in Rosso Tegola laminate and rectangular wall panels in Coal Grey laminate, alongside wall-hung furniture in Iron Grey and Prestige White matt lacquer

The latest highlight to emerge from Kaldewei’s Luxstainability world, the Meisterstück OYO DUO double walled bathtub has been inspired by Japanese porcelain and is comprised of 100 percent recyclable and sustainable steel enamel. As part of the process, designer Stefan Diez ensures that each of the components can at some future point be returned to the material cycle

Manufacturing techniques that use less energy and generate less waste are also a focus for many manufacturers, and Cosentino’s dedicated approach is a prime example when it comes to bathroom surfaces. "We're always innovating to ensure that our renowned surface brands, Silestone and Dekton, are offering the most sustainable solution for consumers looking for a premium worktop," says Laura Davie-Rush, marketing manager at Cosentino UK. "What sets our Dekton brand apart from competitors, even more than its superior technical qualities, is Cosentino’s commitment to a circular economic model. This deep-rooted and extensive dedication to aid a worldwide problem has resulted in Dekton being a carbon neutral product for its entire life cycle. This means that from the extraction of the raw material, through to the emissions from its production cycle, to the end of the product’s life, all emissions have been offset. Not only that, various Dekton colours are also made with recycled materials from its own manufacturing process."

Thanks to its unmatched hardness, strength and durability, Dekton by Cosentino is perfect for bathroom worktops, shower trays and washbasins. Shown here is Kraftzien Micron, which features markings and a trowelled texture for depth

So how can clients be confident that products made from recyclable materials still offer the high quality and durability necessary for busy bathroom life? Sarah Evans, head of product marketing at Hansgrohe UK, suggests that choosing good quality fixtures and fittings with a longer life cycle is fundamental to sustainability and avoiding waste. "For example, all Hansgrohe and AXOR products are tested with water or air to get as close to the bathroom experience as possible before leaving the factory. We also ‘over-test’ to ensure robustness of all our showers and taps. In the UK, three bar working pressure tends to be the average but hansgrohe products are all tested to sixteen bar as standard. What’s more, to keep our FinishPlus finishes looking pristine even with daily use, we have invested in a refined PVD process that is resistant to external factors and durable enough to offer decades of protection against wear and tear."

Hansgrohe Group uses a refined PVD finishing process which uses no harsh chemicals or residues. The AXOR Conscious shower, showcased here in Brushed Bronze, also features EcoSmart technology to help users reduce day-to-day water and energy costs

Tags: bathrooms, features, sustainability, recyclable, cradle to cradle

In other news