Why is Glass not recycled when stock is scrapped?

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delt1c

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Watching many videos of stock being scrapped why are the glazed windows not removed and recycled prior to scrapping?

In this day and age where recycling is seen as the norm it would appear that many materials which could be recycled are just crushed, same seems to apply to buses, a mechanical grab just rips everything
 
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LowLevel

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Because it takes time and time is money. Scrappies don't tend to be in the business of hand disassembly. Can you easily recycle laminated windows? They're don't exactly break down easily.
 

Deepgreen

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Landfill will, rightly, become more and more expensive and unacceptable, so it should become financially-viable to recycle more material. I'm shocked that such huge amounts of glass are not recycled now, but lamination is a problem.
 

DB

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Is none of it recycled? Big shredders such as that at Newport can separate the output into different materials.
 

david1212

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While I can understand that laminated glass will be more difficult to recycle than coffee and jam jars it still ought to be recycled in some way rather than ending up as landfill for ever given that it will never naturally break down.
 

adc82140

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I think the shredder is rather clever at Newport, effectively automating the sorting. So while it looks rather indescriminate, a lot will be recycled. Raxstar at Eastleigh on the other hand looks to be more traditional, with the carriages manually stripped before the bodyshell is broken up mechanically.
 

Bald Rick

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‘Window’ glass is much more difficult to recycle than bottles and jars. (Same with Pyrex dishes etc). Ultimately all it is good for is turning it into relatively fine material to add to tarmac to toughen it up. In fact quite a large proportion of glass put out on kerbside recycling ends up like this anyway.
 

DustyBin

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I think the shredder is rather clever at Newport, effectively automating the sorting. So while it looks rather indescriminate, a lot will be recycled. Raxstar at Eastleigh on the other hand looks to be more traditional, with the carriages manually stripped before the bodyshell is broken up mechanically.

It’s worth remembering that Raxstar need to sell their scrap (to somewhere like Sims or EMR) so it’s in their interest to decontaminate it. A skip load of clean steel is worth a lot more than a skip load of assorted materials. There appears to be at least some component recovery at Eastleigh as well.

‘Window’ glass is much more difficult to recycle than bottles and jars. (Same with Pyrex dishes etc). Ultimately all it is good for is turning it into relatively fine material to add to tarmac to toughen it up. In fact quite a large proportion of glass put out on kerbside recycling ends up like this anyway.

Correct, although I didn’t realise they put it in tarmac. It’s certainly a common ingredient in concrete where it serves as a binder.
 

ac6000cw

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While I can understand that laminated glass will be more difficult to recycle than coffee and jam jars it still ought to be recycled in some way rather than ending up as landfill for ever given that it will never naturally break down.
There is bit of info on recycling laminated glass on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_glass#Disposal - which implies that laminated glass from road vehicles (in the EU, so I assume that still applies in the UK as well) is not allowed to be put into landfill. But this might not apply to rail vehicles...
 

alexl92

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I recently had to dispose of some old window glass at my local tip and was told to put it in the general waste. When I enquired I was told that window glass 'can't' be recycled (read: is more expensive/more effort). I imagine it's probably the same for this?
 

tomatwark

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I suspect that window glass is not generally recycled because, it will have putty, silicone or the remains of double glazing surround on it, also there may be be a difference in how you recycle float glass, toughened glass and laminated.

The other thing to consider is most modern sealed double glazing units have a low E coating on them which also may effect things.

A house of windows will generally have a mixture of toughened, laminated and float glass.

The thinking probably is that there are to many variables.
 

InTheEastMids

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There's a huge range of materials that get lumped together under the term 'glass'.

Make a mix of those formulations at the bottle bank, and you get something that is no good to anybody.

The overwhelming majority of glass is soda-lime, and most of this will be jars and bottles, and most of that will have been gin bottles in the last year.
However window glass and bottle glass are formulated for different manufacturing processes (bottles are blown, windows are made using float-glass process). This makes them different enough that a melted down mix has no potential for reuse.

Borosilicate glass is the other main type and this is quite different chemically, with much higher melting point and used where you want greater strength and heat/chemical resistance like cookware (Pyrex is the best-known brand).

Anything else is pretty niche.

I don't know about laminates (e.g. car windscreens), but can't imagine that makes life any easier.
Car window glass may be a special type of window glass - may have been doped with an element to give a tint, and maybe formulated differently for scratch/impact resistance compared to architectural windows
Coatings are usually such a small % by weight and would get burnt when the glass melts so I doubt is generally a big issue
Toughening is usually a thermal process so doesn't affect the formulation or recyclability (other than handling it)
 

tomatwark

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Mikey C

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Drinking glasses can't be recycled either

Lots of glass items can be recycled including glass bottles and jars.
There are some types of glass such as Pyrex, oven-proof glass and drinking glasses that can't as they are designed to withstand higher temperatures when being recycled.

 

david1212

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‘Window’ glass is much more difficult to recycle than bottles and jars. (Same with Pyrex dishes etc). Ultimately all it is good for is turning it into relatively fine material to add to tarmac to toughen it up. In fact quite a large proportion of glass put out on kerbside recycling ends up like this anyway.

But at least it is getting reused not going to landfill.

I recently had to dispose of some old window glass at my local tip and was told to put it in the general waste. When I enquired I was told that window glass 'can't' be recycled (read: is more expensive/more effort). I imagine it's probably the same for this?

Not ideal but a general tip is different to a bespoke site dealing with vehicles of any type that have a significant proportion of glass.
 

Bald Rick

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But at least it is getting reused not going to landfill.

Small comfort. It’s the energy needed to make primary glass that’s the issue. 16 wine bottles* recycled saves about the same CO2 as burning a litre of petrol.

*typical monthly consumption in this household.
 

Cowley

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Funnily enough I’m involved with demolishing part of a large house at the moment and the only thing we’ve not been able to recycle is the glass.
We’ve been able to recycle the wiring, copper pipes, wooden lintels, granite, brick, joists, slate, floorboards etc etc, but the glass has had its life and is only useful to go in the skip along with the mortar and render for use as hardcore I guess?
 

NotATrainspott

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Lots of materials can be recycled but it's just not worth the bother. Plastics are terrible for this. There are certain waste streams where volumes are high and it's relatively simple to recover useful materials (e.g. car battery casings) but most plastics aren't worth the bother. Putting laminated glass through a shredder and then a waste recovery plant will give you some energy back and leave you with CO2 and inert waste which can be safely landfilled without real environmental damage. Landfill is really not the worst place that waste can end up in western countries. Perversely, discouraging people from taking waste to official landfill will encourage flytipping instead, which is much more expensive to deal with.

The technical feasibility of recycling is also not the final world as it's the entire economic context that matters. Wine bottles in the UK could well be recycled into new bottles but wine is typically bottled outside of the UK. It's not worth the cost and energy to move empty or shredded bottles back to where new bottles would be made. A fair chunk of plastic recycling in the west was dependent on otherwise-empty containers headed back to the Far East where it was cheaper to process.

If you really want to minimise energy usage with glass then you make use of its reusability. Traditional milk bottles would end up in a fairly tight cycle between household and local bottling plant with bottles reused until they break. It's a bit more challenging with alcohol and other non-generic products which can't be bottled locally.

Window glass on a train or bus is starting from a very good position environmentally, having enabled a huge amount of high-efficiency public transportation over its lifetime. Worrying too much about it means not worrying enough about much bigger and more worthwhile problems.
 
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