Are ceramic tiles biodegradable? (5 ways to reuse ceramic tiles) 

The article will discuss if ceramic tiles are biodegradable or not. Other topics covered will include:

  • Can you recycle ceramic tiles?
  • Can you upcycle ceramic tiles?
  • How to dispose of ceramic tiles?
  • How to reuse ceramic tiles?
  • Can you compost ceramic tiles?
  • How long do ceramic tiles take to decompose?

Are ceramic tiles biodegradable?

No, ceramic tiles are not biodegradable because they do not contain the essential natural or organic inside that the microbes can process. 

Biodegradation is the breakdown caused by the microbes in a way that waste is converted into simpler material that can become a part of nature again. However, the microbes can only break down material that is both natural and organic. 

Ceramic tiles are made from natural materials such as clay, sand, and water. It may be wondered if ceramic tiles are natural, why can they not degrade? The simplest answer is that ceramic tiles can not biodegrade because they are natural but inorganic, while microbes can only digest organic material under natural circumstances. 

How long do ceramic tiles take to degrade?

If we talk about the most commonly used material which is ceramic tiles, it will take about 10,000 years to decompose which is a synonym for never! 

However, the degradation time may be lower in the case of other materials such as plastics or asbestos as they may require around 1000 years to decompose. 

The bottom line is that ceramic tiles should not be disposed of like regular trash as they literally take thousands of years to degrade and decompose. Greener alternatives (discussed above) should be preferred. 

Can you Reuse ceramic tiles?

It may appear absurd but it is possible to reuse ceramic tiles. Many times, people are too quick to judge and therefore, they are unable to get complete from their tiles. 

In many cases, ceramic tiles are not that damaged as such that they can not be used. There are various creative ways to explore such as ceramic tiles that may be reused in other parts of the house. 

You may also get a bit creative and paint the cracks in a way to turn them into art. Not only will this improve the aesthetic touch in your house but it will also help the environment. 

Can you Upcycle ceramic tiles?

Upcycling ceramic tiles is another efficient way to make sure that the ceramic tiles do not end up in a landfill and remain there for several years. 

When it comes to upcycling, there are no limits to your creativity. You may use ceramic tiles for a plethora of uses such as arts, and crafts, decorative purposes, and increasing the aesthetic sense of your home. The vibrant and sober colours of the ceramic tiles are always a great addition if used accordingly. 

Also, you can also consider painting ceramic tiles. This way, you can reuse them as tiles too but with a modified look of course. 

Can you recycle ceramic tiles? If so, how?

The recycling of ceramic tiles is another great way to help the environment because when tiles are recycled, they are not needed to be processed from a new state. This means that there are benefits such as resource conservation, energy conservation, and less waste. 

However, many people wonder if you can recycle ceramic tiles. Yes, you can but not every time and everywhere. It is a possibility that some recycling centres would not accept tiles for recycling because some recycling machinery may not be able to handle them. 

Therefore, you need to check on and confirm with your local recycling centre/program to see if they accept ceramic tiles. If they do not, then you may need to contact third-party recycling ventures such as Terracycle. 

What are other ways of disposing of ceramic tiles?

You can also consider either selling the ceramic tiles as many construction shops can put the tiles to good use. Chances are that you may get a decent remuneration for your ceramic tiles.  

However, if selling is not an option, you can donate it. This way, you will ensure that the tiles are put to good use and utilised efficiently instead of ending up in landfills; a noble way to do that!

Can you compost ceramic tiles?

Since tiles (including ceramic tiles made from natural material) can not biodegrade, it is also not possible to put the tiles in a compost pile. 

It had been reviewed that tiles may be made from several materials including plastics, glass, porcelain, and ceramic. While the verdict in the case of non-natural materials like plastics is quite straightforward; it gets a bit convoluted in the case of ceramic tiles as they are made of natural material. 

However, since ceramic tiles do not contain the organic inside, it is not possible to put these tiles in the compost heap as microbes won’t be able to break them down. Above all, the main application of compost is to improve the organic content of the soil. 

Is it okay to dispose of ceramic tiles in regular trash cans? (5 ways to reuse)

It is very clear that many people are tempted to simply throw away ceramic tiles without any second thought. While it may be convenient to do so, it is anything but convenient for the environment and health of the people around. 

When ceramic tiles are disposed of recklessly, they may be ignored in a landfill and since tiles are non-biodegradable, they may remain there for many years. 

When this happens, the waste problem (which is already very exacerbated) gets worse which deepens the notion of environmental problems that we have that include global warming, the greenhouse effect, and climate change– to name a few. 

Therefore, we need to explore ways through which we can avoid this situation and properly utilise ceramic tiles. Some of the ways that you can explore are:

  • Reusing
  • Upcycling
  • Recycling
  • Selling
  • Donating


It is concluded that ceramic tiles are not biodegradable. They may be made from many materials but the most common material is ceramic. 

The article discussed various ways by which ceramic tiles could be utilised that included recycling, upcycling, donation, sale, and reuse. 

The article also addressed some eminent associated questions such as the composting aspect and how long ceramic tiles take to degrade. 


  • How Long Does It Take For 60+ Common Items to Decompose? Retrieved from