The Columbus, Ohio-based windshield replacement firm said in a news release it began the program in 2011 in markets near its selected recycling plant partner. The company expects to complete implementation on the East Coast by the end of May. The program will then expand to the West Coast.
The logistics of collecting used windshields and shipping them to the recycling plant are designed to be carbon neutral, using existing freight lanes within Safelite’s supply chain, the company said.
Windshields have not been recycled widely because of the difficulty in separating the glass and inner polyvinyl butyral (PBV) plastic layers. But now more recycling plants are able to process the material practically, Safelite said. The recycled glass and PVB materials are reused in U.S.-made goods, including fiberglass insulation, paint and primer, solar cells, carpet backing and plastic products.
Currently, Safelite recycles other types of vehicle glass at its manufacturing plant in Enfield, N.C. In 2011, the facility recycled more than 5 million tons of glass.
"Our corporate responsibility efforts are threefold: ethics, charity and environment," said Tom Feeney, Safelite's president and CEO. "We are proud to add windshield recycling to our long list of 'green' business practices.”