In many ways, the auto industry is particularly polluting, contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases. Fortunately, more and more solutions are being put in place to reduce these emissions and adopt better waste management. For example, it is estimated that in Canada there are approximately 1.2 million windshields that are replaced and sent to landfills each year. The first step in preventing the replacement of a car window is to repair it when the chips and cracks are small. However, replacement is sometimes unavoidable. Some parts of the vehicles are more protected than others like the engine and dashboard for example. The outer elements are not so lucky and are much more exposed to damage. For example, windows and windshields are very fragile. Every year, one car in five changes one of its windows. How are they recycled?

Windows and windshields of vehicles can be repaired cheaply as long as the impact is not too important. Otherwise, you will have to replace it. But if there is a replacement, it means that the window or the initial windshield is thrown and what happens to them?

First of all, it is important to note that windows and windshields are 100% recyclable!

The good news in all of this is that there is a program that allows a whole network of glaziers and automotive companies to recycle windshields. The way windshields are made makes it a bit more difficult to recycle and convert to other products. But this is still achievable. Be aware that windshields are particularly exposed to the risks of the elements and, especially, the various debris that can be found on the road. They are therefore manufactured to minimize damage and prevent injury in the event of an impact. For this reason, they are composed of two glass plates between which is a polyvinyl butyral or PVB film that allows to retain the chips after a break. It is the presence of this plastic film that makes the recycling of windshields more difficult and very expensive, especially as recycling resources are still limited. Indeed, it is necessary to remove it in order to recycle the glass. But complex does not mean impossible!

Recyclable to infinity

Once the plastic film removed from the glass plates, a windshield can be reintroduced into the consumption cycle. The windshield glass is composed of 70% silica sand, so it can be recast and reused to infinity, in principle. This way of doing things is part of a process of sustainable development and waste reduction. To recycle, the glass is placed in a grinder, where it is then crushed. The next step is to sift the crushed glass into so-called cullet. Finally, it is used in the manufacture of various containers of glass or fiberglass. However, cullet is never used to make new windshields. In addition to reducing by about a quarter the amount of energy needed to manufacture glass products, recycling automotive glass helps to limit the need for new raw materials. Indeed, quality sand suitable for making glass becomes increasingly difficult to find, it is a resource that must be spared when possible. Of course, as we mentioned, it is better to repair a car window, if possible, than to replace it. Not only does this help reduce the amount of waste destined for landfills, but it is also a more economical solution for consumers.

There are several types of windows on a vehicle:

windshields: they consist of a plastic sheet called PVB (Polyvinyl Butyral) and two glass plates.

the side windows: they are made of tempered glass.

the rear glasses: they are also made of tempered glass and include copper wires used for defrosting.

There are several ways to treat this waste for recycling:

  • The broken windshields undergo two successive grinding operations, the pieces of plastic are separated from the fragments of glass which are recycled into glass wool, micro-beads or enter the manufacture of ceramics.
  • The unbroken windshields become re-used parts.
  • The back glasses are crushed and used for the manufacture of glass wool after separating fragments of glass and the metal elements of the de-icing system.
  • The side windows are recycled in glass, in the state or after grinding. Their valorization is then done b There are comfort options on a vehicle that you get used to quickly: the auto rain sensor is one of them. This equipment is used to provide better control of the vehicle’s wipers, depending on the density of the rain. It facilitates driving in rainy weather since it allows you to focus your attention on the road.