This innovation is tackling the construction industry’s recycling challenges – and might change the way you think about bathroom renovations

The adhesive used in construction and renovation has been like a chain link that can’t be opened in any way – until now. This enables the significant increase of the recycling rate in construction.

Demolition waste from buildings makes up nearly a third of all waste globally. Minimizing waste is crucial in making the construction industry more sustainable also in Sweden and other Nordic countries.

As the amount of construction waste per year in Sweden is 14,3 million tons (2020) and only a limited percent is currently recycled or reused, there’s plenty of room for improvement, but changing the course will require new innovations. One of which is Kiilto’s recently presented Debonding on Demand solution. It enables the separation of material surfaces bonded together using heat or microwaves, for example.

“With the debonding solution, these chemical bonds can now be opened in a controlled manner for the first time”, says Raija Polvinen, Kiilto’s Chief Ecosystem Officer.

When the surfaces no longer need to be broken – instead, they can be debonded – the material resulting from the dismantling becomes recyclable and reusable.

The next level of bathroom renovations

As Kiilto is known in the Swedish construction field for its test success wetroom waterproofing system, amongst other construction solutions, the rough demolition process when renovating an old bathroom and the challenges of recycling the waste are very familiar to the company.

“Bathrooms are a great example when talking about debonding. When renovating a bathroom, the surfaces are broken down to the gypsum board level. That won’t be necessary with the debonding method, as the mortar and tiles can be removed in a controlled manner. The used grout can be vacuumed up and returned to Kiilto for recycling”, explains Polvinen.

Even the old tiles stay unharmed and suitable for reusing. Today, tiles are not reused and there is a constant need for opening new clay quarries.

“The quarries have a big impact on biodiversity. The global yearly consumption of ceramic tiles is about 18 billion square meters”, adds Polvinen.

Building an impactful ecosystem

With Debonding on Demand, Kiilto is also paving the way for further innovations in the field of construction. Alongside Debonding on Demand, Kiilto recently launched the SUPER Healthy Buildings Ecosystem, which brings together innovators, researchers, start-ups, decision-makers, organisations and companies in the built environment.

“SUPER aims to revolutionise the sustainability of the built environment. To achieve this, collaboration within the whole industry is vital. Sweden already has the experience on how to collaborate in startup ecosystems. We would love to have the Swedish expertise on board this sustainability revolution of the built environment,” says Polvinen.

Meet Raija live at Byggmaterialdagen Tuesday 28 November in 

Join us to learn more about the possibilities of Debonding on Demand, as Raija Polvinen will be speaking at Byggmaterialdagen in Stockholm on the topic “How can design and technology for disassembly contribute to resource efficiency?” on Tuesday 28th November.

About Kiilto:

  • A Finnish family-owned business founded in 1919
  • Net sales €260M in 2022
  • Expanded to Sweden in 1987
  • Employs nearly 800 innovative top-level professionals in a total of nine countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland
  • Operates in four business areas: construction, industrial adhesives and fireproofing, professional hygiene, and consumer goods
  • Environmental leadership is a strategic focus and ambitious environmental goals are integrated in everyday decision-making
  • Kiilto’s vision is in 2080
  • Leading player on Swedish market for Floor as Service for floor screeds. Recently launched a new floor levelling compound, Kiilto Pro rECO, with one of the lowest carbon footprints in its field.
  • Market leader in wetroom waterproofing solutions in Finland and leader in innovative bio-based industrial adhesives in Europe
  • Market leader in hand and surface disinfection solutions in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Kiilto is a family-owned company based in Finland with over a hundred years of history and a vision looking ahead to 2080. Kiilto develops, produces, and markets chemical industry solutions in the fields of construction, industrial adhesives and fireproofing, professional hygiene, and consumer goods. The key principles underlying Kiilto’s operations are environmental leadership, closeness, and commitment to the future. Kiilto’s operations span 9 countries, and it employs around 800 people. In 2022, the group's net sales amounted to 260 M€.