What does sustainability mean for tiling?

The UN defines sustainability as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. For tiling, that means ensuring that the materials, methods and processes of our industry are achieving targets for Net Zero by 2050.

To meet this challenge, the tiling industry is committing to reducing, reusing and recycling. The main focus currently in the tiling industry is on circular design, meaning that product design should carefully consider the lifecycle of a product in order to efficiently extend its use. This involves practices such as using long-lasting materials, reusing offcuts, introducing take-back schemes and recycling old tiles into rubble for other construction uses.

An illustration of the tile cycle can be seen below.


Market estimates for UK 2021

Tile consumption: 65 million sqm
Annual CO2 emission: 520-770 tonnes, plus 6.5 tonnes of CO2 emission for adhesive

Tiles have a strong sustainability proposition compared to alternative wall and floor coverings:


They are durable and long lasting


They are made from naturally occurring raw materials


They are recyclable


They have good thermal mass properties


They are easy to maintain and clean

With a lifetime of durability* ceramic tiles are fireproof, waterproof and scratch resistant unlike other floor or wall coverings

*The reference service life for ceramic tiles is 60 years. Refer to the 2023 Ceramic Tile Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) independently assessed and published by The Confindustria Ceramica, Italy

TTA recognises the importance of the tiling sector's environmental impact and that the sustainability position of the industry needs to be improved for a number of reasons:

Meeting regulations

Regulations from the government are increasing

Increasing demand

Increasing demand from customers and other stakeholders

Reach Net Zero

It is the right thing to do if the tiling industry is going to play its part in helping reach Net Zero by 2050

TTA is committed to helping its members and the wider industry tackle the issues where the tiling sector needs to improve its sustainability position. These include:

The extraction of finite raw materials

Energy usage in tile production and CO2 emissions

Transportation since for the UK market tiles tend to be sourced a long way from where they are used, incurring a significant carbon footprint

VOCs and chemicals used in ancillaries adhesives, grouts, cleaners etc.

Material waste from the tiling industry

Heatproof, waterproof and easy to maintain and clean, ceramic tiles are a long-lasting feature for your walls and kitchens.

What are we doing?

TTA has established a dedicated Sustainability Working Group which meets regularly and works to:


Identify the key issues affecting our sector


Develop an achievable position which makes the tiling industry more sustainable


Help member companies on their sustainability journeys


Ensure the industry grows, is profitable and successful


Identify, satisfy and anticipate the sustainability requirements of TTA members


Help TTA meet or exceed sustainability laws, regulations and guidelines


Get involved!

Improving the sustainability of the tiling sector requires maximum involvement from members. Please get in touch if you require more information, if you would like to contribute any news or information about what your company is doing to improve the sustainability of your business activities or if you would like to join the Sustainability Working Group.
For more information contact