How Much Does Windshield Repair Actually Help the Environment?
There are several key statistics that need to be kept in mind when discussing the windshield production process. First, auto glass manufacturing is a very high-temperature process, which also means that it is a very energy intensive process. The World Bank Group (Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Glass Manufacturing) reported that it results in high levels of sulfur dioxide & nitrogen oxides. The oxides of nitrogen are a natural product of the burning of gas in air and are produced in large quantities by gas fired furnaces where as the oxides of sulphur are produced as a result of the glass melting process.
Additionally, the high temperatures lead to oxidation of the surrounding atmospheric nitrogen. Windshields are two-ply glass and lamination, which means that they’ve two layers of glass. It has been reported that, on average, it takes 15.2 million BTU’s of energy to create 1 ton of glass. Typically a ton of glass packed will liberate between 500 and 900 kg of CO2. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation reported that this leads to 285 pounds of mining waste as well as 28 pounds of air pollutants. While it is impossible to eliminate the waste resulting from this process, by decreasing the needs for new windshields, this process can be minimized, which is exactly what repair does.
The second impact area that rock chip repair is beneficial is the disposal of broken windshields. The California Department of Conservation estimates that glass can take more than 1 million years to absolutely decompose within a landfill setting. Additionally, recycling windshields simply isn’t an option because it is a laminated two-ply with a PVB layer that must be separated.
The Boston Globe estimated that more than 11 million windshields are replaced every year. With an average weight of about 25 pounds, this swiftly adds up to more than 275 million pounds of waste every year. By opting for windshield repair over auto glass replacement, these affects can be greatly reduced.
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