The story behind the tiles
When our newest collection of wall tiles launches in January, beautiful design isn’t the only thing we want you to enjoy.
Thanks to close collaboration between Mosa designers and our Research & Developmen team, our newest tiles will embody more than beautiful aesthetics. They will also be circular, sustainable, and made to enable the creation of living and working spaces that have a positive impact on people and planet.
“In today’s world, great design goes far beyond what’s on the surface,” says Mosa Head of R&D Mikel Stultiens. “That’s why when Mosa develops a new product, sustainability and well-being are equally important considerations. We want to be sure our customers can count on products that help them create spaces made to have a positive impact on people and planet long after installation – no compromises.”
So how do we make sure sustainability and wellbeing is “baked in” to every tile we create? Using the principles of Cradle to Cradle Certified® as our framework, we take every step possible to maximize the positive environmental and human health impacts of our products.
1. We’re making material health matter.
“Mosa was recently awarded Cradle to Cradle Certified at the Gold level for most of our tile products – an achievement based upon years of systematic improvement to the material health of our tiles as well as the way we design and make them,” Stultiens says. “In addition to ensuring our tiles are entirely VOC-free and lead free, one of the biggest improvements we have made over the years is to remove as many potentially harmful substances from our tiles as possible, ensuring most of the ingredients we use in our products and our production processes as are as safe as possible for humans and the environment.”
“Because our aim is to use solely non-toxic materials in all Mosa tiles, all our partners and suppliers have had to get rid of harmful substances as well – a process that has help us create more awareness about environmental responsibility and human wellbeing throughout our supply chain, too.”
Our Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold level certification – which includes a Gold level performance rating for material health – under version 3.1 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard gives our customers and end-users proof positive and peace of mind that we are putting this commitment into action.
2. We’re maximizing our energy and water resources
Because Mosa headquarters are in Maastricht near the Maas River, we know first-hand how our impact on local water supplies can have a broader impact on our people and our community. According to Stultiens, that’s part of what drives our commitment to using water in the most responsible and efficient ways – including innovative approaches to “recycling” water through closed loop internal systems. As a result, “we hardly discharge any water at all, and we make sure the little we dispose of is as clean or cleaner when it re-enters the water system than when it came out,” Stultiens says, noting that most of the water is reused in the production process either in the tile body or in glaze preparation.
Because tile production can be a particularly energy intensive process, Mosa has also developed an energy transition roadmap and is actively working on a variety of projects to fully transition to alternative and renewable energy sources like hydrogen, biogas, and electricity. “We are also looking for innovative approaches to maximize the value of the energy we do consume,” Stultiens adds. “For instance, kilns generate a lot of residual heat, so we use this heat to supply our dryers – a process that means the dryers no longer need their own energy supply. It’s a project that has been so successful, we are now looking for new ways to channel this residual heat into energy savings for other products or processes.”
3. We’re repurposing tile waste
Circular design – designing products in ways that ensure at the end of a product’s life its materials can be reclaimed, repurposed and/or reused – is central to the Cradle to Cradle Certified framework. Designing waste out of the system and using materials made to be circular is the key to transforming our collective impact into something that is regenerative and positive for people and planet.
“Developing a circular economy business model is central to Mosa’s sustainability strategy and commitment,” says Mikel Stultiens. “We are already channeling all waste generated during the tile production process back into new tiles, and we do not dispose of any tiles. Now, we’re taking this commitment one step further by using other parties’ waste material, too.”
One example of this is calcium. When local drinking water producer WML softens water, the process releases calcium. Mosa developed a patented technology for transforming the calcium particles into calcite, which can be used in tile production. Now, 100% of the calcium Mosa uses comes from this renewable source. What’s more, Mosa tiles now contain 33% post-consumer materials – and we’re running pilots to increase that percent even further by incorporating other sources of post-consumer and post-industrial waste into our products.
This ambition to repurpose waste as much as possible is not without its challenges, Stultiens cautions, but that’s often where innovation happens. "At the moment, one of the difficulties with using post-consumer waste from other building materials is that a lot of products are still being manufactured using materials that are unhealthy and potentially hazardous to people and planet. If we reuse it, we are perpetuating the use of those materials, and compromising the sustainability of our own products – something we refuse to do,” he says. “This highlights the need for all of us to prioritize choosing and using products that have been verified as safe for humans and the environment, and to working with partners and suppliers who share our uncompromising commitment to creating products that enable the creation of healthy, thriving spaces with a positive impact on people and planet.”
4. We’re prioritizing people as well as a planet
From thermal conductivity that helps to optimize the heating and cooling of an interior space to colours and designs that can help promote focus, healing or health, consideration for the human impact of Mosa tiles is integrated into every step of the design and development process. “Beautiful design is an important starting point, and environmental responsibility is critical to our mission, but without considering how our products impact human health and well-being, the other two elements are less valuable,” says Stultiens. “We try to ensure that everything we do, from using safe, healthy materials to designing for circularity, has a positive human element to it. And with energy efficiency top of mind for today’s customers and end-users, the brilliant thermal conductivity properties of ceramic tile means our products are helping improve indoor environments and improve energy efficiency – adding value that goes far beyond comfort and functionality for customers and end-users.”
Be first to find out more about our newest collection
The beginning of 2023 will mark the introduction of Mosa’s brand-new wall tile collection. Discover our newest wall tile series Classics Tide. This series combines vibrant warmth and textural appeal, typically associated with artisanal tiles, though keeping a contemporary look.
Explore the colours of Classics Tide here