Safelite is the only vehicle glass company with a wide-scale windshield recycling program.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. It is the resin interlay that 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. In fact, Safelite uses rugs made with the recycled carpet backing with the company logo in many of its locations.
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 1 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.”
About Safelite AutoGlass®
Safelite AutoGlass®, founded in 1947, is the nation’s leading provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, providing mobile service to more than 95 percent of the U.S. population in all 50 states. The Columbus, Ohio-based company employs approximately 10,000 people across the United States and serves more than 4.3 million customers annually. For more information, visit www.safelite.com.
About Shark Glass Recycling
Shark Glass Recycling North America is a subsidiary of Shark Solutions A/S, a Danish cleantech market leader in recycling post-consumer laminated PVB (Polyvinyl Butyral) and glass from windshields and laminated architectural/building glass. Shark Solutions was the winner of the 2009 Saint-Gobain EU Award for Most Visionary Company in Environmental Category and the 2010 Award for Green Products from the Danish Ministry of Environment. For more information, visit www.shark-solutions.com and www.recyclemywindshield.com