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I wasn't sure what topic to put this under, but it's about clay. Sorry if this is a repeat subject.
Our company recycles 100% of our clay that isn't considered to be contaminated. We have a reclaim system that one of our employees manages, but this person is moving on from the company in a few days.  They get the clay to the right consistency and run it through the pug to be reused. The problem we are running into is that it's actually cheaper and simpler to order new clay than it is to manage this process and inventory. 

So here's the crazy idea that might upset some folks. What if we got an extra disposal container and threw our scraps away? Im looking for pros and cons here. Here are some I've thought of so far:

  • Pros: Cheaper, no (known) negative environmental effects, more reliable clay consistency, fewer defects as a result of foreign contaminates, simpler training for employees 
  • Cons: Someone worked hard to get this clay out of the ground, sounds bad in marketing, 
  • Another option is to donate

Thoughts? 

Edited by Ceramic Human

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I don't do any recycling at my studio. It's not worth the time and money. Lots of full time potters do not recycle, because their time is better spent making pots or doing other things related to running their business. Do not feel guilty about it. If you can donate it to someone who can use it, then do. But if not, it's just going to go back into the ground.

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Sorry for a not feel good reply but 

Is there an infinite supply of suitable clay into the future.

It's not all about the $ all the time is it?

Take a visit to where your clay is sourced.

Surely as individuals we can get rid of the throw away buy new because we can mentality.

Go look at your footprint. Think of your kids and their kids and so on.

No apologies just my thoughts.

Try to source another employee with the skills you are losing.

The fact you are asking the question on a forum can reinforce flawed concepts sometime.

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Mixed clay is made up of several different types of clay that were dug from pits.  Just throwing it on the ground is not sending the clay back to mother earth in it's original form.  It took thousands of years for mother earth to grind out these pits.  You are also eliminating a job for a person who may really need a job to a giant clay factory.  I use to make my own clay but finally got too busy,  old and tired but I never quit recycling.   I met a potter who didn't recycle,  it was a shocking mess and a blight on the landscape.   She was dumping five gallon buckets of clay near a  small pond,  over the years it had become such a mucky mess she couldn't get very close to the water.   Her clay Stonehenge sat there baking in the Kansas sun,  no vegetation  in sight,  suffocated by the layers of clay.  Denice

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2 hours ago, Denice said:

Mixed clay is made up of several different types of clay that were dug from pits.  Just throwing it on the ground is not sending the clay back to mother earth in it's original form.  It took thousands of years for mother earth to grind out these pits.  You are also eliminating a job for a person who may really need a job to a giant clay factory.  I use to make my own clay but finally got too busy,  old and tired but I never quit recycling.   I met a potter who didn't recycle,  it was a shocking mess and a blight on the landscape.   She was dumping five gallon buckets of clay near a  small pond,  over the years it had become such a mucky mess she couldn't get very close to the water.   Her clay Stonehenge sat there baking in the Kansas sun,  no vegetation  in sight,  suffocated by the layers of clay.  Denice

Interesting. What I hear you saying is that clay disposal is harmful to the environment because it suffocates plant life.  Is that correct? What about naturally occurring clay? Would you consider that to be environmentally unfriendly as well? Because that stuff suffocates plant life too. 

As far as eliminating a job for a person who really needs it, yeah that sucks. But we don't keep jobs around because people need them. We create jobs because they engage a need that the business has. 

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Clay deposited on surface does indeed harm that environment. It seals the ground so water does not penetrate.  It changes the ph of the ground and so as plants tolerate a certain ph the plants growing happily prior to clay dump may not thrive if they can actually tolerate the dense air deprived layer smothering their roots  and stems.

From your recent post I think you are after posts which reinforce a decision  you have already made.

Streams and rivers around mining areas die as the naturally occurring substances are released into the water courses at a rapidly increased rate, and different ratios.

Oh well humans rule, right?

Planet in a great state at the mo. Right?

With the devastating downpours  in various parts of the planet there is indeed devastation caused by downslides of naturally occurring clay.

Humans most often have a finger or 10 in that pie too.

 Clay pans devoid of veg do occur naturally.

That would surely allow you to dump your "waste" no worries mate.

GEP has pics on these forums whereby little space is used as she stacks her "waste clay between plaster slabs

Uses very little space. A little of her time.

Apologies to forum members. Cannot understand  some humans and their actions.

Dump it at your doorstep . Hopefully you wont get stuck there. Anyone witnessing animals struggling to free themselves from human induced mud pans  would tread more carefully on our planet.

Edited by Babs

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I was just going through this question a while ago and decided I'd start throwing away scraps.  Then I noticed on my yard waste bin it says no dirt allowed, so I decided to call up my waste collection company and they said I cannot put clay inside the yard waste.  So I will just be collecting my scraps until I can afford a pug mill.

Since you're not going to be recycling anymore, can I have your pug mill?

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I've heard (and believe) that clay will line and water tight a pond.  If I had a little more level ground, I'd want to dig a pond, screw the recycling and pugmill.  Unfortunately, I live on a pretty steep canyon.  I'd have to fence it in or build control to keep out the wildlife, if I wanted to stock it with anything cool.  Otherwise, it would just be a wildlife magnet.  Also cool. 

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5 minutes ago, CactusPots said:

I've heard (and believe) that clay will line and water tight a pond.  If I had a little more level ground, I'd want to dig a pond, screw the recycling and pugmill.  Unfortunately, I live on a pretty steep canyon.  I'd have to fence it in or build control to keep out the wildlife, if I wanted to stock it with anything cool.  Otherwise, it would just be a wildlife magnet.  Also cool. 

 Bentonite will seal a pond!

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Recycling clay as an individual user is very different than recycling clay for a business or entire studio. The pillow case or plaster slab method doesn't work on a larger scale. For individuals it's great, though.

I think there are smarter ways of getting rid of slop than piling it up next to a pond and killing vegetation. That is not a problem with the clay, it's a problem with the person.

I also think that the clay pit mine itself is far more damaging to the environment that the small amount that I throw out. And you would be surprised at how much gets thrown out during production.

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this. It all depends on your situation and what works for you. 

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3 hours ago, liambesaw said:

So I will just be collecting my scraps until I can afford a pug mill.

Since you're not going to be recycling anymore, can I have your pug mill?

Cool....if you get the pugger can I send you my concrete hard clay to reclaim? I hate rehydrating & wedging, wedging, wedging. :lol:

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On 10/18/2019 at 3:05 PM, liambesaw said:

I was just going through this question a while ago and decided I'd start throwing away scraps.  Then I noticed on my yard waste bin it says no dirt allowed, so I decided to call up my waste collection company and they said I cannot put clay inside the yard waste.  So I will just be collecting my scraps until I can afford a pug mill.

Since you're not going to be recycling anymore, can I have your pug mill?

You can't put it in your Green Waste barrel, but you might be able to put in in the Trash barrel (as long as it doesn't make the barrel too heavy). Call your waste collection company and see.

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10 minutes ago, Rae Reich said:

You can't put it in your Green Waste barrel, but you might be able to put in in the Trash barrel (as long as it doesn't make the barrel too heavy). Call your waste collection company and see.

I could but that would be really expensive here, my garbage service is 60 dollars a month for one 20 gallon can (60lbs) and we are a family of 4 with 4 animals so it's pretty much full every week.  I thought yard waste would be a good fit since it's free and this is organics, but I guess they've had issues in the past with it gumming up their machines.  Womp womp!

Now if it really does kill vegetation I have about 500 sq ft on my property of ivy and blackberries that could use a clay treatment heh.  Will more than likely ignore it until next summer and try to foot wedge it all outdoors.

Edited by liambesaw

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On 10/18/2019 at 6:13 PM, Ceramic Human said:

Interesting. What I hear you saying is that clay disposal is harmful to the environment because it suffocates plant life.  Is that correct? What about naturally occurring clay? Would you consider that to be environmentally unfriendly as well? Because that stuff suffocates plant life too. 

 

My garden is on "naturally occurring clay".  Plants thrive in it.  It's me the gardener who doesn't like it, sticky, hard to dig, waterlogged in (a wet) winter, cracked wide open in (a hot) summer.

Dumping processed clay on top of whatever the natural ground is composed of is no different to dumping rubbish or plastic.  You're changing it.

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Great  jousting from  everyone on this topic,  I have been busy moving my 96 year old into senior living facility.   She grew up in the dust bowl area of Kansas,   she was 5 years old  when the famous  black Friday dust storm rolled into town.    It was blowing  across the US to Washington DC.   Just when it hit the capital building the senators were taking a vote on helping farmers with education and funds to rebuild the soil and how to plow to conserve the soil.    When it turned black outside the bill passed.   Hundreds of people especially children died from breathing the dust,   Farmers weren't  aware that they way they farmed could contribute to a disaster of such magnitude.   We know now and shouldn't ever think that what we do personally can't affect the earth.    Denice

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The thing about a belief is that you hold to it whether it's convenient, cost effective or not.  If you believe in recycling as a principle, then you do it consistently.   There isn't any doubt or room for discussion that we live in a throw away society.   It's that mindset that would have to change.  I can chose not to participate.  

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Truth betold ceramics is far from an environmental friendly activity. Recycle what you can but face up to the fact that we are all contributing to global warming with pottery no mater what you  fire. This is old news really.

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On 10/18/2019 at 6:05 PM, liambesaw said:

I was just going through this question a while ago and decided I'd start throwing away scraps.  Then I noticed on my yard waste bin it says no dirt allowed, so I decided to call up my waste collection company and they said I cannot put clay inside the yard waste.  So I will just be collecting my scraps until I can afford a pug mill.

Since you're not going to be recycling anymore, can I have your pug mill?

Lol. We will still use it to adjust the moisture in "out of the box" clay. It also seems to reduce air pockets and serves as a substitute for wedging. Otherwise I'd give you a friend discount.

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On 10/21/2019 at 4:00 AM, Chilly said:

My garden is on "naturally occurring clay".  Plants thrive in it.  It's me the gardener who doesn't like it, sticky, hard to dig, waterlogged in (a wet) winter, cracked wide open in (a hot) summer.

Dumping processed clay on top of whatever the natural ground is composed of is no different to dumping rubbish or plastic.  You're changing it.

Okay. Agreed. But by this definition, there are plenty of responsible and environmentally good things you could do to the ground that also "change" it. 

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On 10/22/2019 at 9:12 PM, Mark C. said:

Truth betold ceramics is far from an environmental friendly activity. Recycle what you can but face up to the fact that we are all contributing to global warming with pottery no mater what you  fire. This is old news really.

 

Agreed. Ceramics in general does contribute, but how does the question I am posing specifically contribute to global warming or environmental destruction? Not being sassy here. I am genuinely ignorant. (:

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