Recovering and recycling to create more sustainable cities are major challenges for the building sector and therefore for the flat glass industry. Find out how Saint-Gobain uses its know-how to limit waste and promote a circular economy that has become crucial in an increasingly urbanized world.

©Marcel van der Burg/SGIMB Glassolutions SA
​​​​​©Marcel van der Burg/SGIMB Glassolutions SA

Increasingly important in the construction industry, flat glass is constantly evolving in response to new uses and environmental requirements. In particular, the recovery of glass at the end of its life cycle and the use of cullet in the manufacturing process make it possible to conserve resources, limit CO2 emissions and create innovative solutions.

Recovering glass from renovation sites to transform it into cullet and include it as part of the raw materials in glass furnaces is a long-standing practice at Saint-Gobain. The market for processing construction waste is now becoming more structured. In France, for example, the Glass Recyclage network offers a closed-loop solution for recycling end-of-life glass, through a national network of qualified dismantlers. The aim is to integrate a maximum quantity of cullet into float. Cullet reduces the carbon content of new glass produced and thus helps to improve the energy performance of buildings. It also reduces overall energy consumption for heating, air conditioning and lighting in buildings, while providing thermal and visual comfort for occupants.

Another example is in Stockholm, Sweden, where all of the flat glass removed from a commercial building renovation project was recycled in our plants, to manufacture a high-energy performance solution: COOL-LITE XTREME 70/33 used in insulating glass units manufactured by Glassolutions BALTIKLAAS. In the United Kingdom and Germany, the end-of-life glass recycling market is also becoming more structured, as part of the roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Read our Story: The virtuous circle of circular economy