abandoned earth
︎︎︎ ceramic products made from industrial waste

From 100% discarded clay, glazed with the saw dust of natural stones.
Available at The Home of Sustainable Things

Any production of any product always generates by-products. This starts with packaging and transport material, continues with seemingly unusable by-products such as sawdust and ends with scrap of any kind. In most cases, these materials are collected on site and transported away as waste. Once in the container, these things usually end up in the incinerator or landfill. But what if all these wastes were not considered as such from the beginning?

This tableware is made from industrial waste from two industries. Materials that are produced in large quantities and yet have no value so far.

Waste source 01
Discarded Clays
In order to source clay from the region, the studio looked for a durable and meaningful solution. In doing so, it came across a source of waste from a nearby retailer: dried-out clay from damaged packaging. The thin foils tear very quickly, making the goods unusable for the time being. Any damage in the packaging, no matter how small, leads to the goods being sorted out. In a few weeks, several hundred kilos can accumulate, which exceeds the needs of the studio. With a little water, time and preparation, the material is like new.

Waste source 02
Natural stone saw dust for glazes
The processing of natural stone always leads to the fact that a large part is ground into dust and fragments. From blasting on the mountain to milling the final products, fragments and stone dust are produced at every step. Even the most valuable rocks are often worthless in powder form.

Through the cooperation with the stone processing company Barbany Artesans, the studio was able to carry out extensive research. Despite the stonemasons' respectful treatment of their limited resource, it cannot be avoided that tons of dust and fragments accumulate along the way. Every week it is taken away and, as is known locally, deposited in landfills. The stonemasons have found no use for the side streams, but for others it can become a valuable source material.

A circular economy is created when we connect industries. “Waste” is the resource of others.

Since most stone dust is collected by an extraction system and is therefore randomly mixed, it has been difficult to determine specific properties. For this reason, the sawdust was first collected directly from the machines and examined individually. It turned out that each variety reacts to firing very differently, and not all types of rock are applicable. Through a almost two-year experimentation and research phase, many rocks could be examined and comprehensive knowledge built up.

Stone dust can fulfil several tasks at once and thus also replaces
more than one component.

Ordinary glazes consist of many different ingredients, the highly sought-after quartz sand almost always plays the main role. In addition, there are valuable metal oxides, toxic substances, mineral additives and more. Since glazes melt forever, they should not consist of so many valuable ingredients.

This glaze consists of only two ingredients, mainly the natural stone sawdust. The result is an extremely changeable and adaptable glaze of different colours, depending on which rocks were sawn. It is food safe, strong and durable.

© Benedikt Peirotén 2023