Columbus/Ohio, USA — Safelite AutoGlass, largest provider of windshield replacements in the USA, recycled more than 1 million windshields in 2013, saving tons of waste from the landfill. Windshields are not commonly recycled because they are made from laminated glass, which is created using two sheets of glass with a clear resin interlay called Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) between. The resin interlay keeps the glass together when damaged, but it is also difficult to separate the glass and inner plastic layers and re-purpose the PVB. Additionally, the logistics of returning windshields to a recycling plant are challenging.
However, in 2012, Safelite AutoGlass implemented its windshield recycling program thanks to a partnership with Shark Glass Recycling North America. With Shark’s patented technology, the laminated glass from Safelite’s customers is processed through the crusher, which separates the glass from PVB. Approximately 90 percent becomes „glass cullet,“ which can then be recycled into a number of new products including fiberglass insulation, while approximately 7 percent becomes PVB scrap, which is reprocessed into pellets and recycled into a number of new products, such as carpet backing, paint and primer, and other plastic products.
The logistics of collecting the damaged windshields and shipping to the recycling plant were designed to be carbon neutral, using existing freight lanes within the supply chain returning to Safelite’s east coast distribution center. For this reason, Safelite currently has 70 percent of its locations returning damaged windshields and hopes to reach 100 percent in the near future.
„We believe our customers appreciate our efforts to recycle their damaged windshields,“ said Tom Feeney, Safelite’s president and CEO. „We are proud to have reached this important milestone of recycling one million windshields – and counting – in 2013. We are also proud of the long list of ‚green‘ business practices at our company, not just because our customers expect it, but because it’s the right thing to do.“