Whenever a crack or chip occurs on the car side window or windshield, the first thought that comes to the car owner’s mind is how much the repair or replacement is going to cost them. When the car owner goes to an auto glass expert to find a solution for the damage that has occurred, the expert is keen on advising whether the car window should be repaired or replaced. If the damage is deep or too extensive to be solved using a repair, replacing the whole window or windshield becomes the only viable option.
Though auto glass replacement delivers many benefits to car owners and other users, it presents a serious problem to the environment. Replaced glass is left for dumping and this leads to environmental pollution. In a country as large as the U.S, millions of auto glass replacements are done each year. To be specific, more than 15 million windshields are replaced annually. Definitely, these damaged auto glass pieces form a big hill worth nothing more than pollution.
Unfortunately, this issue has been ignored for a long time due to various reasons. One of the reasons is that many people did not find any use of the damaged auto glass. For a few who knew that glass can be recycled, they didn’t know how to do so. The cost of recycling glass is also high. In fact, up to date resources for auto glass recycling have been limited.
Solution To The Auto Glass Disposal Problem
The automotive industry only started paying attention to the problem of auto glass disposal recently. Since the early times when cars started being fitted with glass parts, landfills have been flooded with auto glass. Glass is non-biodegradable; estimates show that it can take millions of years to decompose. In light of this, there’s a high need to reduce the prominence of the disposal problem and its impact on the environment, and achieve maximum energy saving.
The technology has solved the puzzle of what to do with replaced auto glass. Today, we have recycling machines that can be used to disintegrate even the most sophisticated type of auto glass. Combining the availability of machinery and knowledge that glass can be recycled endlessly, auto glass recycling has become the automotive industry’s long-awaited solution to environmental conservation.
Can Laminated Glass Windshields Be Recycled?
Laminated windshields are also recycled using a method that is more sophisticated than simple pure glass recycling methods. Since these windshields are made of layers of glass and plastics bonded together, a special machine is required. When the windshield is fed into the machine, it is broken up into small chunks that are less than a quarter-inch in size.
Uses Of Recycled Auto Glass
Glass is one of the natural materials with countless uses. When auto glass is recycled, it can be used to make vases, bowls, bottles, etc. Companies that manufacture building materials make use of recycled auto glass when making tiles and other high-end household surfaces. Glass artists can also use the glass to build mosaics
Impact Of Auto Glass Recycling To The Environment
There are more advantages than disadvantages of recycling and reusing glass materials. The most significant benefit is prevention of environmental pollution. Simply put, recycling glass means little glass is thrown into landfills and this reduces the carbon footprint of the community. Recycling also means that the need to manufacture new windshields. Less energy is also used when less new windshields and side windows are manufactured.
Raw materials that would have been used to make new auto glass are preserved. Since glass is made from natural materials, preserving them is like preserving nature. Raw material conservation also extends to industries that make glass items. Instead of sourcing other natural material for use in the manufacture of vases, for example, recycled glass presents a less expensive option.
It’s undeniable that auto glass recycling offers many benefits to the environment. Many companies have windshield recycling programs. Applications of recycled glass also continue to increase thus encouraging the practice. New products that use recycled auto glass include fiberglass insulation, paint and primer, carpet backing, and rugs just to name a few. While auto glass recycling programs are faced with numerous challenges such as competition from other raw materials like sand, the cost of recycling, and lack of enough expertise, it should be emphasized that auto glass is good for the environment. This should be a reason good enough to continue supporting the recycling programs.