Synergy for a second life

10/02/2020

POINT.P and Saint-Gobain Vitrage Bâtiment are joining forces in France to collect and recover windows at end-of-life.

Available so far at four POINT.P sales outlets in the Nord department of France and one in Reims, a new service allows trades professionals to return complete windows to an outlet so that the glass can be recovered and converted into cullet and fed back into Saint-Gobain Vitrage Bâtiment’s flat glass production. The shared aim is to improve the building waste treatment process in France. POINT.P and Saint-Gobain Vitrage Bâtiment are contributing to the production of greener glass that is better for the environment while also simplifying the recovery process for trades professionals.

Recycling flat glass: an important issue

In France, the waste recovery rate for the entire Branch is 56%, but only 5% of the total flat glass waste from demolition and renovation sites is recovered or recycled. That represents barely 10,000 metric tons of flat glass. 

And yet, increasing the volume of cullet (glass waste) used to manufacture new glass is a major environmental issue today. It would significantly reduce CO2 emissions during production process and save the natural raw materials widely used to manufacture flat glass, such as sand. It is estimated that using 1,000 kg of cullet cuts direct CO2 emissions by 300 kg and saves 1,200 kg of new raw materials.

Today, Saint-Gobain’s glazing is comprised of 30% cullet, but the Group’s aim is to increase this to 50% by 2025. To achieve this target, new sources of cullet will need to be found, in particular by recovering windows at end-of-life. Still, glass reused to manufacture flat glass must be exempt of all pollution, that is in perfect condition, to avoid the end product being unsuitable for use. 

Create a glass circular economy

With this in mind, POINT.P Nord and Saint-Gobain Vitrage Bâtiment are establishing a local partnership to organize the collection and recovery of windows at end-of-life. The aim is to encourage trades professionals to drop off complete windows directly at the POINT.P outlets rather than to a waste drop-off center. The windows are stacked on purpose-built frames to prevent damage and then collected by a qualified local partner who separates out the materials, processes and recovers the glass before delivering it to the Saint-Gobain plant in Aniche, France.

This recovery service has many advantages for trades professionals. In adopting it, they are complying with their legal obligations around waste management, while saving precious time by not having to visit a waste drop-off center. Si it’s simple and economical.

Conclusive initial results 

The window recovery service has been operational since end-June 2020, at four POINT.P outlets in France’s Nord department (Aniche, Cambrai, Douai and Prouvy), and in Reims. It is attracting a growing number of trades professionals.

At the end of the first month, around 50 windows had already been collected, that is, 1 ton of recycled glass.

This collection service is here to stay and the brand is now looking at extending it to other POINT.P outlets in the regions starting in 2021. 

The partners have set themselves the target of collecting six million windows by 2050.