The European Ecolabel

Environment and Ecology
  • 11 February 2009

European Ecolabel certification provides Novoceram’s customers with a guarantee that throughout its lifecycle the product they are buying respects the environmental parameters defined and controlled by independent EU bodies.

What is the European Ecolabel?

Since 1992, Ecolabel has been the European environmental quality mark, awarded to products with a low environmental impact throughout their entire lifecycle from extraction of the raw materials through the complete production and distribution process up to disposal.

The European Ecolabel

All products with this certification display the official Ecolabel logo, a small blue and green flower.  The tests are based on scientific studies measuring the product’s impact on the environment during each stage of its lifecycle.

The stages in Novoceram’s Ecolabel certification process

Novoceram’s product certification has been achieved in various stages.  It began in 2005 with identification of new raw materials, preparation of technical measurement documents and in-depth product research and development leading to the introduction of changes in a number of production procedures.

The first seven collections obtained certification at the end of 2006: Sirène, Fossil, Chamade, Voyage, Noname, Valvert, Espace, then another, Coliseum, at the end of 2007. In February 2009, certification was extended to all the collections.

The European Ecolabel criteria

Products are controlled by independent bodies which verify both compliance with strict environmental impact criteria and top technical and functional performance.  All the following aspects are verified continuously or regularly:

Extraction and selection of raw materials. All suppliers of the raw materials used to make the body were asked for complete technical documentation and an environmental impact study.  Those not fully satisfying the criteria were gradually replaced.  At the same time, glazes using pollutants such as lead, cadmium and antimony were gradually phased out.
Air and water pollution. Equipment for dust-extraction and for the continuous real-time monitoring of dust levels was installed.  Pollution from fluorine, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides was constantly monitored and certified by an accredited independent laboratory.
Energy consumption. Considerable efforts have been made to reduce energy consumption.  Electricity consumption has been reduced by 6% and gas consumption by 7%.  Ecolabel rules also impose absolute levels (in relation to the quantities produced) which may not be exceeded.  As regards water, reuse is now 100% and consumption has dropped by 21%.
Control of solid waste. In order to encourage recycling and disposal, differentiated waste collection procedures have been defined for the offices (paper, ink and other waste) and the various production functions.  Given that tiles are made of inert natural materials, they can be reused without risk in road building in place of gravel to construct the roadbed. This means that practically 100% of our waste is recycled.  Ecolabel imposes a percentage reuse of more than 70%.
Reuse of unfired waste in the fabrication process. Broken or unusable unfired tiles are reintroduced into the fabrication process where they are passed through the grinding mill and atomiser.  More than a quarter of the production formula for porcelain stoneware and single fired tiles consists of recycled unfired waste.

A new way of working

The Ecolabel certification process has resulted in substantial modifications to the way of working in the factory and to numerous analyses, in-depth studies and tests being performed.  It represents a major but unquantifiable investment when the necessary time and human commitment is taken into account.  All employees have also made a contribution at their various levels, contributing at the same time to improving working conditions.

In conclusion, for Novoceram, European Ecolabel certification is above all a concrete commitment to respect for the environment.  For customers it represents a way of recognising an ecocompatible product and knowingly choosing to make an environmentally friendly purchase in respect of the principle of sustainability.
For further information don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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