Can You Recycle Auto Glass in Houston?

clean auto glass in Houston on a car

If you need replacement auto glass in Houston, you might wonder what happens to the old glass and whether it’s recyclable.

If you have damaged auto glass in Houston, then you may need to replace it with new glass. However, many people worry about the environmental impacts of this. Auto glass replacement is essential for keeping your car safe in many situations, but the good news is that your glass may be recyclable to help keep it out of a landfill and help reduce emissions and depletion of raw materials to make new glass. In this blog, we’ll go over some important things to know about recycling auto glass

Is Auto Glass in Houston Recyclable?

The short answer is yes! However, there are some important things to understand. Auto glass is recyclable, but it is a more complicated process than your average glass jar. Therefore, you probably can’t simply place it in your recycling bin at home. 

It’s important to remember that auto glass in Houston is different from normal glass that breaks easily and into sharp shards. Auto glass is typically either laminated or tempered for added strength and safety. This means that there are special methods for recycling auto glass like windshields and side windows. 

Therefore, if you want to recycle your auto glass, you need to know what makes it different from other types of glass and how recyclers break it down for reuse. 

Recycling Windshields After Houston Windshield Replacement

If you have damage to your windshield, you may need Houston windshield replacement. For instance, damages that are larger than the size of a dollar bill, deep, or directly in the driver’s line of sight may all need replacement instead of repair with resin. 

For this service, your auto glass technicians remove the old windshield and replace it with a brand new windshield. This ensures that the windshield is strong enough to protect you and your passengers from many things, including flying debris and major accidents. 

As you may know, windshields aren’t like other types of glass. Windshields are made of laminated glass. Laminated glass is two or more layers of glass joined together by an inner layer of plastic called polyvinyl butyral (PVB for short). The PVB layer does two things. First, it prevents glass shards from detaching from the windshield and causing cuts and other injuries. Second, it helps prevent other items from flying through the windshield during an accident. Because of this PVB layer, windshields need special recycling methods

Recyclers must separate the glass layers from the PVB layers when recycling windshields. This wasn’t possible in the past, but innovations in the last 20 years or so allow recyclers to take windshields. Recycling windshields starts with pulverizing the windshield, then sending it through a special machine that separates the glass from the PVB. From there, the recyclers cut up the glass into cullet. They also break down the PVB into smaller pieces for easy reuse.

However, not every recycler has access to these machines. That’s why we can’t simply place your old windshield in a recycling bin and hope for the best. It’s essential to find recyclers who specifically take windshields. 

Recycling Car Window Auto Glass in Houston

How about car windows? Car windows are often made of a different type of auto glass in Houston than windshields (though some manufacturers use laminated glass here, too). Car windows, quarter glass, and other types of glass in your car are typically tempered glass. 

To make tempered glass, manufacturers heat treat or chemically treat normal glass. This makes it stronger than regular glass because it changes its chemistry. Tempered glass withstands much higher forces compared to normal, untreated glass. It also breaks into smaller, round pieces, rather than sharp shards to help keep you safe in case of an accident. 

Because this type of glass is different from normal or laminated glass, it’s not eligible for windshield repair in Houston, meaning you’ll need to replace it when damaged. It also makes recycling more complex, though not impossible. 

This type of auto glass in Houston also cannot go to just any recycler, as many aren’t set up for it. Like other types of glass, recyclers must break down tempered glass into glass cullet. However, if you mix this with normal glass during recycling, it can cause serious issues with products made from recycled glass. This is because tempered glass has a much higher melting temperature. Therefore, recyclers must keep tempered glass separate from normal glass. Many facilities don’t recycle tempered glass because they simply don’t get enough of it to reuse in a significant way. So, like with windshields, recycling car windows requires finding the right recycler for the job. 

What Does Recycled Auto Glass in Houston Make?

Now we know a little bit about recycling auto glass in Houston, you might be curious about what happens after recycling. Both auto glass and PVB can be reused in many ways. Let’s discuss a few to help you get an idea. 

Products from Recycled Auto Glass in Houston

Recycled auto glass, whether from a windshield or car windows, is used for many different things. Glass is infinitely recyclable for things we need.

Many artists use recycled glass cullet to create works of art, often mosaics made of different colored glass. Also, many companies use glass cullet to make things like fiberglass insulation or even as aggregate in concrete and asphalt. Some also melt the glass down to make things like glass bottles and jars. Recycled tempered glass, like the auto glass in Houston for your car windows, gets melted down and used in various glass items. For example, things like shower doors and glass tables.

Products from Recycled Windshield PVB

After a Houston windshield replacement, the PVB inner layer of the old windshield may also be recycled. Once separated from the glass, recyclers grind down the PVB layer and use it for many different applications. Recycled PVB is often used for things like carpet glue, wall paint and primer, and floor mats. 

How to Recycle the Glass After Houston Windshield Replacement

So, how do you apply what you’ve learned in this article to everyday life? Of course, you can certainly ask for your auto glass in Houston back to recycle it yourself if you wish. However, this can be a huge hassle, as you’ll need to safely handle and store the glass and find a recycling facility that can take it. Instead, consider working with a glass company that takes care of all that for you. 

Apple Glass – Providing Superior Glass Services to the Greater Houston Area

Our team at Apple Glass is here to serve you through quality glass services. We work with third-party partners to help keep your old windshield or other types of glass out of landfills. Our experts offer a wide range of services for all your glass needs, from repair to replacement and installation. Trust our team to handle everything you need and provide top quality services at fair prices. Contact us now to get a free quote for your residential, commercial, or auto glass needs in Houston or The Woodlands.

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