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American Clay Paint Company Launches Practical Takeback/Recycling Program

American Clay Develops Recycling Program for Recyclable Packaging

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Green Marketing Includes Mandate for a Recycling Program

One of the elements of a certified environmentally marketed product is that a program for recycling is available. See our article "FTC Certification for Environmental Marketing Claims" for the federal requirements for marketing a product as "green". American Clay is making that "recycling program" available for their product claim.

American Clay Develops Recycling Program for Recyclable Packaging

American Clay not only strives to manufacture sustainable paint and wall finish product contributions to building and design, but is constantly checking itself to innovate behind the scenes.

American Clay recyclable packaging program

Recycling Program for Packaging

The first thing American Clay did a year and a half ago was change the dry plaster bag from vinyl lined burlap bags to unbleached, cotton muslin, made in the U.S.

"The goal is to recycle 30% of these bags within the program’s first year. Our altruistic goal is 100%, but we will never see that because many of our applicators use the bags for projects of their own," says Croft Elsaesser, American Clay co-Founder and CEO. "We can reuse and recycle the muslin bags through the production process twice by keeping track of their lot number. After their full cycle, our plan is to produce enough cotton shopping bags so that we can periodically sponsor a day of giving out these bags at a local food store, such as Whole Foods. That way, we continue to help reduce the overall resource consumption of plastic and paper shopping bags."

Next were the jars containing the color packs. After realizing they were ending up in the landfill, American Clay switched to a polypropylene bag (Type 1 LDPE) which is recyclable in most states and cities. The 5-gallon plastic containers used for the sealers are also 100% recyclable.

Corporate Green Supply Chain Implementation Program

American Clay’s recycling program was announced to its distributors and dealers in August, but began in earnest Oct. 1st, 2007.

The company so far has received one box of 25 bags from an applicator in Colorado, and 50 from local New Mexico builders and applicators. The company offers incremental prizes for returns, and will pay for shipping if sending 50+ bags at once. American Clay is also working with several municipality recycling centers in the area to transform its current industrial content into post-consumer recycled content, "in line with the current green movement’s goals," states Elsaesser.

Corporate Social Responsibility Program

American Clay’s mission is to better the planet, through their commitment to healthy solutions for beautiful, calm, and healthy environments. To that end, already established environmentally friendly practices as a company are:
  • Their products qualify for up to 7 LEED credits on LEED certification projects
  • Their manufacturing uses low inherent energy to produce our products. i.e. 250 tons of material costs $45 in electricity. They use no water in manufacturing.
  • Plaster is shipped dry to save shipping energy and cost. (Additional 20 pounds of water if sent premixed.)
  • They ask that no one use perfumes or chemical emitting materials when working.
  • With their recent facility expansion, one factor in site selection was the closer proximity to where many of their employees live, cutting driving distance.


American Clay Earth Plaster products are a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments that offer builders and consumers a natural and elegant option. American Clay is uniquely manufactured in and made of materials found in the U.S. American Clay Enterprises, Inc., is based in Albuquerque, NM, and its product is patent pending. The product and various workshops are available through their New Mexico office or through one of the growing number of retailers and distributors across the U.S. The website,, offers information on additional products, ordering, technical specifications, product application and additional resources and links.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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