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Innovative Products: Kohler Crackle Collection

Tile that transforms pottery waste into useful material

May 30, 2019

A 2019 survey from the Pew Research Center shows that 56% of U.S. adults say protecting the environment should be a top priority. Companies across industries are taking notice of this increasing concern. One of those companies is tile and stone manufacturer Ann Sacks, which partnered with parent company, Kohler, to release at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) a line of ceramic tile made from pottery waste. 

The Crackle Collection, developed by the Kohler WasteLAB in Kohler, Wisc., turns unfired waste pottery into ceramic tiles. “We started looking seriously at the materials and found that it was primarily ceramic in composition,” says Theresa Millard, product manager for Sustainability and Stewardship at Kohler. “With our research, we were able to identify the real potential of creating a tile from the landfill-bound pottery materials.” All of the tile body material is recycled content, says Kohler communications leader Robin Richter, with recycled materials in the glaze ranging from 0.3% to more than 50%, depending on glaze color.

These waste materials—pottery cull and factory sand and dust—came from Kohler’s enamel factory. Once the material is pressed, the tiles are hand-cut and a glaze is applied. The glaze is engineered specifically to pool and break over the clay’s textured surface during firing, giving the tiles their unique crackled appearance. (The tiles are not recommended for exposed wet areas, as the moisture will affect the surface glaze.)

Our editors were lucky enough to see the Crackle Collection at KBIS this year. The six vibrant hues offer a pop of color that homeowners can enjoy while also feeling good about the environmental benefits that come from recycling materials. It’s a tile worth adding to your design arsenal. 

Crackle tiles start at about $40 and $45 per square foot for standard and premium colors, respectively. The tiles are available in six sizes and shapes, including a hexagonal option. 

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