August 20 2013

Caring for Customers by Caring for Our Environment

Melina Metzger, Public Relations Manager

Customer-centricity is about making business decisions based on your customers’ needs. Sometimes those needs are spoken and sometimes, those needs aren’t even known to the customers themselves. One example of the latter? Windshield recycling.


Have you ever stopped to consider what happens to the damaged windshield once it’s removed from your vehicle? Unfortunately, in many instances, it’s sent to a landfill. That’s because the breaking apart of the glass from the inner Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) in between can make it a difficult, costly project, often resulting in scrap materials not even suitable for recycling.

But by partnering with Shark Glass Recycling North America, Safelite® found a solution. 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, while approximately 7 percent becomes PVB scrap, which is reprocessed into pellets and recycled into a number of new products, such as carpet backing, paint and primer, and other plastic products. In fact, Safelite® uses rugs made with the recycled carpet backing with the company logo in many of its locations.

In 2012, Shark Glass Recycling began operations in its first U.S. windshield recycling plant strategically located close to Safelite’s east coast distribution, so as not to increase transportation emissions. The logistics of collecting the old windshields and shipping to the recycling plant were designed to be carbon neutral, using existing freight lanes within the supply chain.

Last year, Safelite saved more than 6,000 tons of damaged windshields from entering the landfill and so far this year, we’re already up to 11,755 tons of glass! And, as of last week, we have shipped over 1,000,000 windshields to Shark since the program kicked off in February of 2012! When the roll-out is complete, we expect to save roughly 15,000 to 20,000 tons annually.

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