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US windshield scheme in the fast lane

United States – The recycling programme operated by Safelite, ‘America’s largest auto glass company’, succeeded in processing more than 1 million windshields last year using the patented technology of its partner Shark Glass Recycling North America.

Windshields are not commonly recycled because they are made from laminated glass, comprising two sheets of glass with a clear resin interlay called polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This interlay makes it difficult to separate and re-purpose the glass as well as other components, prompting the company to set up a dedicated recycling scheme in 2012.

With Shark Glass Recycling’s technology, collected laminated glass is put through a crusher to separate the glass from the PVB. ′Approximately 90% becomes glass cullet, which can then be recycled into a number of new products including fibreglass insulation,′ Safelite explains. Around 7% becomes PVB scrap which is reprocessed into pellets and recycled into new products like carpet backing, paint and primer.

Founded in 1947, Safelite AutoGlass offers vehicle glass repair and replacement services in all 50 US states. It employs some 10 000 people across the country and serves more than 4.3 million customers annually.


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