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Glass Recycling from Saint-Gobain

Cullet Return Scheme

The UK's leading cullet return scheme offered by Saint-Gobain Building Glass. 

Using recycled glass has a direct and positive impact on the environment and the reduction of energy used in the glass manufacturing process; but collecting it efficiently can be a significant challenge.

Our cullet scheme recycles in excess of 55,000 tonnes of glass annually, which has led to a reduction of NOX emissions and raw material usage. Additionally, the scheme has helped to divert thousands of tonnes of waste glass from landfill sites. Float, coated and mirrored glass can all be recycled, representing a major benefit for our customers and the environment.

Saint-Gobain Cullet Return Scheme

Saint-Gobain Building Glass innovative use of cullet in the glass manufacturing process has always been a key differentiator for the business. Saint-Gobain Building Glass currently operates the UK's largest cullet return scheme and since the introduction of cullet use in the manufacture of float glass, we have been able to increase the amount of recycled glass utilised to 35% - rising to 41% in some cases.

The increase is due to new developments which now allow a variety of glass cullet types to be returned as part of the scheme. Mirrored, lacquered and coated glass can all be returned and used in the manufacturing process. As cullet takes less energy to process than raw materials, this benefits both Saint-Gobain Building Glass and the environment.

Customers and non-customers of Saint-Gobain Building Glass can recycle glass for free with our reusable bags which can be filled with any type of cullet that meets our criteria (including glass not supplied by Saint-Gobain Building Glass). The cullet is returned on empty stillages back to our manufacturing site where it is then recycled meaning there is no impact from additional traffic movements. 

How we recycle glass

The glass recycling process is partly carried out by specialised group subsidiaries like Valoref and Samin. 

Valoref is Europe's leading company for recycling glass furnace coatings. Valoref clients include most of Europe’s glass-making businesses as well as nearly all of the world’s major refractory producers.

Samin, a Saint-Gobain company, recycles residential glass from local authorities. The glass is sorted using high-tech electronic machinery which removes any impurities. Once the glass has been processed it is re-used in glass furnaces.   

Through recycling, the Flat Glass Sector’s European operations save almost 300,000 metric tonnes of raw materials per year, thereby avoiding 70,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.



All 28 in-loaders in the SGBG fleet conform to the latest Euro compliance standards. SGBG has also invested in the replacement of ten in-loaders with new, lighter vehicles which have the ability to carry 10% more glass without surpassing the 44-tonne weight limit. This helps us to efficiently deliver more glass to our customers and also helps to reduce the number of journeys a vehicle has to make over time therefore positively impacting our CO2 footprint. 

Glass Recycling

Annual driver training schemes and the latest GPS tracking software are combined with a Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme to optimise the way deliveries take place. The local logistics team has a scheduled communication with Saint-Gobain Logistics in Paris who analyse the data and help highlight opportunities for improvement. 

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