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Can Pottery Be Recycled? Discover the Art of Clay Reclaim

Pottery is not just about creating beautiful pieces; it's also about sustainability. The question often arises: Can pottery be recycled? The answer is a resounding yes! Let's explore the fascinating world of clay recycling and how each stage of pottery - from greenware to bisqueware and ceramics - can be given a new lease on life.



Greenware: From Failures to Renewed Potential


Recycling Process:

The journey begins with failed greenware projects and trimmings. Instead of tossing them aside, these can be recycled with a simple process. First, dry the clay thoroughly. Once dry, soak it in water until it dissolves. Next, spread the clay reclaim on plaster, wood, or in a hung pillowcase, allowing water to drain and evaporate. The resulting clay can be kneaded to remove air bubbles or efficiently mixed and compressed using a pugging machine, transforming it into a reusable state.


Fixing Cracks and Breaks:

Greenware often cracks and breaks. Fear not! A mixture of paper clay pulp and clay slip can come to the rescue. Apply this concoction to fix imperfections and breathe new life into your greenware.


Health and Safety Tips:

When working with greenware or dry clay, prioritize your health. Clean up clay dust with a damp cloth, ensuring a safe and dust-free workspace.


Bisqueware: Sanding and Repurposing


Recycling Process:

Bisqueware, the stage after the first firing, presents another opportunity for recycling. Sand and smooth the surface, utilizing water, wet, and dry sandpaper for best results. Failed bisqueware, rather than being discarded, can serve as test pieces for glaze experiments or be broken down and repurposed as drainage for plant pots.


Health and Safety Tips:

When dealing with bisqueware, wearing a mask is essential. Protect your eyes and hands, ensuring a safe environment for sanding and repurposing.


Ceramics: Breaking the Mold for Creativity


Recycling Process:

Ceramics, in their final form, can also find new life through recycling. Break them down for mosaic projects, repurpose them into abstract art, or utilize the elegant gold Kintsugi technique to fill cracks and breaks. They can even be broken into smaller pieces for effective drainage in plant pots.


Health and Safety Tips:

Breaking ceramics requires precautions. Wear protective eyewear and thick protective gloves to ensure your safety while exploring the creative potential within each shattered piece.



In conclusion, the world of pottery is not only about creation but also about sustainability. Embracing the art of clay reclaim allows us to breathe new life into failed projects and transform them into something beautiful and purposeful. So, the next time you find yourself facing a cracked piece or a pottery mishap, remember that recycling is not just for paper and plastic – it's for clay too!


Happy Potting

Jo - Apprentice Pottery Technician

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1 Comment


Unknown member
Feb 14

This is really good to know. There's nothing like clay to help me connect with nature. Thank you for sharing all these top recycling tips 😁

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