As any school child could tell you, the automotive industry is probably one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas levels. The good news is that many more solutions are being applied that seek to reduce the levels of these gases and adopt a better waste management practices.
As long as the impact is not too severe, there is much that can be done to repair a windshield for a fairly low price. If the damage is severe, then the windshield will have to be replaced. But this usually means the original windshield has been rendered useless, so what happens to that?
Well, the good news here is that your windshield is 100% recyclable.
But, the special construction of a windshield makes it a little more difficult to recycle and transform into other usable materials. But, it is not impossible to be aware that your windshield is susceptible to the elements and the various debris found on the road.
Recyclable to infinity
Before the glass can be reintroduced into the consumption cycle, that plastic coating must be removed from the glass. Because the windshield is made of 70% silica sand it can be melted down and recast as many times as necessary. The methods applied here are all part of the process of waste reduction and sustainable development.
The recycling process works like this, the windshield glass is crushed into powder in a grinder before being sifted into a raw material called cullet. This can then be used in the fabrication of glass and fiberglass products of all types. Using recycled glass can reduce the energy needed in glass production and the energy and costs for raw materials.
Cullet cannot be used in the fabrication of new windshields. It is true that proper sources of sand suitable for making a proper windshield are in short supply. Being frugal and cautious with the use of this resource is very important. This is why it is always best to repair a windshield whenever possible. Not only does this reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill but creates a more economical solution for customers.
There are several types of windows on a vehicle:
Windshields –– these are made of two glass plates and a sheet of plastic called PVB (Polyvinyl Butyral).
Side windows –– made of tempered glass.
Rear glasses –– made of tempered glass and copper wires used for defrosting.
There are several things to be done to prepare this for recycling:
Broken windshields will be ground down twice and the microbeads of plastic will be removed from the glass. Glass will be recycled into glass wool, or sent to the ceramics industry.
Any unbroken windshields can be used for re-used parts.
The back glasses will also be crushed once they have been removed from the copper de-icing wires.