CRT: Cathode Ray… Tiles

Fancy a computer screen on your bathroom wall? These glass tiles are made from recycled (or upcycled) cathode ray tubes.

Some readers may never have used the heavy computer or television screens that used CRT technology for image projection. But the bulky glass remains lodged in our society, as they fill up huge volumes in landfill sites around the globe.

Since LCD technology became more popular, in the middle of the previous decade, CRT screens have been dumped in huge numbers. The problem is that the coated glass, used for projection, is hard to recycle.

Fireclay Tile, a company in the US, decided to change this. The majority of electronics waste in developed countries’ landfills is reported to be CRT screens, so Fireclay had lots of raw material to experiment with.

To convert the material into tiles, the glass is first separated from the monitor and demagnetised. It is then crushed and repeatedly ground into very small particles. These are heated and melted and, importantly, have white pigment added to them. This lightens the often dark greenish hue of CRT glass.

Finally, the material is cast as a rectangular tile, which comes in 5cm by 20cm and 5cm by 10cm sizes and with a gloss or a matte finish. The procedure is efficient; it results in about one screen’s worth of tiling for each monitor. Approximately 10 monitors can tile a bathroom wall.

More information on the glass tile is here on the manufacturer’s website.