Glass Forever – Transforming Glass Recycling

2 minute read

Glass is a highly versatile building material that can be infinitely recycled.  However, in the fenestration industry, the extent to which old door and window glass can be recycled and remanufactured into new glass, is often overlooked. At Saint-Gobain Glass, we’ve been leading an industry change, pioneering a closed-loop approach to glass manufacturing.

Glass Forever is our circular economy approach to sustainability. Working closely with our customers, we actively divert waste glass from landfills saving window installers thousands of pounds on waste disposal costs. Through the programme we successfully minimise waste, conserve vital raw materials and reduce energy consumption.

Old, insulated glass units which are typically removed during window replacement projects, are collected by our customers and converted into cullet (crushed glass). The cullet is re-manufactured into new float glass, which is then transformed into new higher-performance IGUs for installation in new windows and doors.

Sustainability at Sternfenster

Based in Lincoln, Sternfenster is a family-owned company specialising in the manufacture and installation of PVCu and aluminium doors, windows, and conservatories. Sustainability lies at the heart of its operations, evident through initiatives such as a fully electric vehicle fleet for the sales team and the installation of solar panels at its cutting-edge 110,000-square-foot factory. These panels contribute to 30% of the factory’s electricity usage, positively contributing to the company’s carbon emissions targets.

The company is now collaborating with us to ensure that all glass supplied by Saint-Gobain Glass will either be incorporated into an end product or returned to our Eggborough site as cullet for recycling.

An essential aspect of this recycling initiative at Sternfenster is the inclusion of both pre-and post-consumer cullet being returned. This means that waste material from the production process and glass removed from residential properties during renovation and improvement works will be collected and remanufactured into new, high-performing glass.

Glass recycling for all

Thanks to Glass Forever, glass recycling can now be something that every installer and contractor does – no longer is it the preserve of a few environmentally conscious businesses, it can be a part of every installer’s world.

Saint-Gobain Glass products made in the UK now use around 40% of cullet in the manufacturing process, making it one of the most sustainable products on the market. High-performance glass manufactured in this way requires less energy in the furnace, reducing CO2 emissions, all with no impact on the quality of the new product.

Our ambitious goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with 50% of all glass manufactured at our site in Eggborough produced using cullet from our Glass Forever Recycling Programme by 2030.

It is important that as an industry we embrace the opportunity to remanufacture old poorly performing first-generation double-glazed windows into new high-performance windows that contribute to improving the comfort and thermal performance of our housing stock, and by doing so help to meet our net zero climate change targets.

Our industry is part of the solution to reduce the carbon emissions of our homes; our products are vital in enabling other technologies such as heat pumps perform effectively.

Mobile glass crushing capability

Supporting increased levels of post-consumer glass recycling, we’ve developed and patented a fully mobile glass-crushing machine. Currently in operation in commercial deconstruction projects across the UK, this crusher is housed inside a recycled shipping container for easy transportation. Engineered and manufactured in the UK, it efficiently recovers glass on building sites, reinforcing our dedication to a closed-loop approach in both the residential and commercial sectors.

We are working with a growing number of customers to create practical and sustainable methods for glass recovery. For more information and to get involved email .

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