Particular Tile: Terra-cotta Tiles from Colorado that Help the Environment (For Real)

It’s not everyday that we get a story idea from Patagonia, but recently we came across a post on their website about a tile company that was borne out of a desire to help the environment.

“Mud diggers. Methane destroyers. Ceramics manufacturers” is how Delta Brick & Climate Company describes itself. The Colorado-based company was founded by Chris Caskey in 2019 as a direct response to two local environmental issues: too much sediment waste in the Paonia Reservoir (which is used to store water to irrigate local farms and ranches) and massive methane leaks in the hundreds of abandoned coal mines of western Colorado that, according to the company, “cause as much annual climate pollution as more than 100,000 passenger vehicles.”

His lightbulb solution: dredge the mud to make building materials (bricks, pavers, adobe blocks, tiles) and power the process by capturing the methane.

Along the way, DBCC perfected its production of clay tiles, eventually spinning off its tile-making portion into its own business: Particular Tile. The offshoot brand offers terra-cotta tiles in 20 shapes and sizes and 40 glazes. While the company works on acquiring the infrastructure needed to capture methane, it’s offsetting the carbon emissions of their electric- and gas-powered kilns by working with partners who destroy four cubic feet of methane for every square foot of tile sold.

Aside from the hyper-local and greenhouse-gas-decimating aspects of the business, what else is different about Particular Tile? “When you call us you will be talking to someone who is actually making the tiles,” says operations director (and tile maker!) Nina Steigele.

Below, a sampling of their lovely handmade, climate-bettering terra-cotta tiles.

Photography courtesy of Particular Tile and Delta Brick & Climate Company.

tiles are baked in a kiln heated to nearly 2,000 degrees fahrenheit for more t 9
Above: Tiles are baked in a kiln heated to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 12 hours. After a day of cooling, the tiles are glazed and re-fired in the kiln.
the terra cotta is made from mud excavated from the paonia reservoir and mixed  10
Above: The terra-cotta is made from mud excavated from the Paonia Reservoir and mixed with grog, a sand-like material that helps control shrinkage. Each tile is cut by hand using custom molds.