The coasters that give your old television new life


Remember that huge television you used to own? It’s sitting under that coffee mug. (Courtesy of Fireclay Tile)

As consumers replace their old televisions and computer monitors with flat-screens, bulky cathode-ray tube monitors and TVs go to waste.

Instead of letting them stack up in landfills, Fireclay Tile decided to do something about it. The San Jose ceramic tile company is raising money on Kickstarter to craft the glass into coasters, tiles and backsplashes.

Fireclay Tile purchases the cathode-ray tube glass from ECS Refining, a company that recycles electronics. The glass arrives stripped down, with metal and lead removed. It is then demagnified and handmade into coasters. The color is lightened slightly from the natural CRT color.

“Sometimes too dark a color is hard to keep clean. it doesn’t reflect enough light in a space,” said Fireclay Tile founder Paul Burns.

Fireclay Tile looks for landfill-based waste products that can be reused. Aside from the benefits of recycling, Burns says the CRT tiles are actually cheaper than if using traditional glass.

The money raised on Kickstarter is being put toward molds to make shower walls, kitchen backsplashes and fireplace surrounds. Burns says the product will sell for $28 a square foot.

With a week remaining in its fundraiser, Fireclay Tile has raised nearly 50 percent more than its goal, leaving Burns happy with the program.

“We get the money we need for molds, people get a lot of great rewards and coasters and other things. It’s a win for everybody.”

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland · December 5, 2013