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Safelite AutoGlass Recycles Over 1.3 Million Windshields in 2014

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Feb. 10, 2015—Safelite AutoGlass recycled more than 1.3 million windshields in 2014, saving more than 23,000 tons of waste from the landfill, the company reported on Monday.

Windshields are not commonly recycled because they are made from laminated glass, which is created using two sheets of glass with a clear resin interlayer 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. 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. Approximately 7 percent becomes PVB scrap, which is reprocessed into pellets and recycled into a number of new 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. Safelite currently has 70 percent of its locations returning damaged windshields.

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