Can auto glass be recycled?
With over 300 million cars on the roads in just the United States, there is a lot of auto glass out there. And with about 5-8% of those vehicles getting broken or damaged windshields at any given time that need replacing, it’s important for us to find ways to recycle our windshields. There are some really great organizations that focus on getting auto glass recycled, such as Shark Glass Recycling. They are making a big difference with the amount of glass that gets recycled for new windshields. Because of the way auto glass is made, it can take about a million years for it to break down and decompose in a land fill. Windshield are made with a laminate that makes it challenging to recycle, since auto glass (as well as many tall buildings’ window glass) contain Polyvinyl Butyral or PVB. This is a material that is used to reinforce glass as well as keep it together in the even that it is smashed or broken in an accident.
Up until 20 years ago however, we didn’t have the technology to recycle auto glass properly, but now certain companies utilize the right tools that were developed just for this problem and are able to separate the laminate from the glass. Then the glass can be crushed and re-used to make many different glass items such as glasses, vases etc. The crushed glass can also be used for fibre glass as well as concrete and for many other uses as well.
It’s a good idea when finding an auto glass repair company, that you ask whether or not they recycle their auto glass. Most companies in most states are required to recycle the glass, and in fact some of the bigger auto glass replacement companies now have their own recycling plants. Making sure that your auto glass company is being responsible and considering the environment by doing the right thing and recycling all the broken windshields they collect over the course of their job is important.