Recycling is going to play a massive part in the fenestration sector’s efforts to reach net zero. PVCu recycling has continued to grow at a good clip, but one area that I believe needs massive improvement is glass recycling.

Glass is pretty simple to recycle, yet the number of companies that have taken to recycling glass versus the recycling of PVCu, Aluminium and timber is far greater. More IGU companies need to take up glass recycling as part of an industry-wide effort to reduce carbon emissions.

To give you some idea as to what you can actually save when you recycle glass, I have taken a look at some of the most recent figures from Morley Glass, who have their own glass crusher on site. The numbers are seriously impressive:

Glass recycling infographic

These stats cover roughly three years of glass recycling from one crusher at one site, namely Morley Glass in Leeds. Over that time they have managed to amass a saving of energy that is quite remarkable. To power a home for more than 300 years with the glass they have recycled is amazing.

It is the other factors that make glass recycling compelling. The sand it has saved for example. I was told that the sand that goes into the production of glass here is sourced from UK beaches. That is raw material that stays where it needs to and protects the domestic environment. It is the CO2 emissions that are kept out of the climate, which is a lot in this case.

Perhaps most important at this present moment, is that is all glass has gone back into the circular supply chain. The valuable glass that we are so short of at this moment in time has found a new purpose and has been kept out of the ground.

You have to wonder if perhaps we were recycling glass on a much bigger level up and down the UK, the glass shortage we are suffering from now wouldn’t have been so severe.

This is where more IGU companies need to step up and invest in glass recycling facilities. They will most likely get paid by their glass systems suppliers for providing that cullet back to them, which in turn pays for the investment in the glass crushing machinery. Or, IGU makers could even invest that cash into local charitable causes.

Of the many ways our industry needs to become more sustainable, the recycling of glass is one of the most accessible and readily available options to many of us. I would urge those who aren’t yet doing so to really think about making this a priority for 2022.

All data included in the infographic has been provided by Morley Glass and verified by Glassolutions (Saint-Gobain).

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