At American Bullnose, we cut tile. We cut a lot of tile! Totaling up to several million feet of tile per year. After cutting, most of that tile is then made into bullnose for our customers. With this format, 99% of the tile is returned to the customer producing minimal waste. However, once in awhile we are asked to cut a tile to a smaller size, which produces a ‘scrap’ piece that the customer does not want back. The following article describes the story of how one branch dealt with an unusually large amount of that scrap.
Earlier this summer, American Bullnose was asked to make a large quantity of 3x18 bullnose. Typically, this size bullnose is produced from a 18x18 inch tile. However this company had an excess of 12x24 inch tiles, which produced not only their desired bullnose pieces but also a sizable scrap piece. Since the client was not interested in having the scrap materials returned to them, American Bullnose was left with several thousand square feet of high quality 6x12 carrara marble looking polished porcelain scraps.
This was not the first time American Bullnose had been left with usable scrap. Historically, small quantities of scrap were simply just thrown away. When left with a few hundred feet of scrap materials our employees have sometimes taken it to their churches or schools to complete small jobs such as bathrooms. The difference with this job was the quantity and quality. No one in the company knew of an institution that needed this much material. This left us in a bind. Sending it all to a landfill seemed both a criminal waste and unnecessarily expensive. It was at that point that we thought of the charity Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity is a charity that builds homes for low income families. It was founded in 1976 and has operations not only throughout the US but across the globe. Local chapters raise funds within their community and then use those funds to build homes in that same community. Most of the materials and labor to build the houses are also donated by companies and individuals in that community. If you would like to get involved, please go to http://www.habitat.org.
We contacted the Orange County, California chapter of Habitat for Humanity to see if they would be interested in our donation. After sending a representative to our facility to survey the product, they accepted the scrap for their “Re-Store”. The representative explained that their volunteer-labor model was not conducive to a tile install in the houses they build due to the cost of materials and the necessary expertise needed to install. By selling the scrap tile in the “Re-Store” we produce a double win: the customer can purchase high quality tile for a discount and Habitat for Humanity will use the cash to fund the building of more homes. A few days later a truck arrived and was loaded up with a dozen pallets of cut tile in two different shades. It was a win for everyone.
Author: Jim Stevenson
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President of American Bullnose of California