Every insurance brand is looking for more ESG points right now, and that means re-using salvaged parts from written off cars. It isn’t easy to recycle car window glass yet, but Audi are working on an interesting pilot project, which could highlight some lessons for the bodyshop sector in the long run.
Audi and its partner companies Reiling Glas Recycling, Saint-Gobain Glass, and Saint-Gobain Sekurit are now doing pioneering work as part of a joint pilot project. The companies want to turn the damaged auto glass into recyclable material for model production and have drawn up a multi-stage process for that purpose:
Using an innovative recycling process, the car windows are first broken into small pieces. Then all the non-glass impurities like glue residue are eliminated. The resulting glass granulate is melted down and turned into new plate glass. That plate glass is then turned into a new car window. If this pilot is successful, the windows that are produced this way will be used in models in the Audi Q4 e-tron series in the future.
“Our goal is to use secondary materials everywhere it is technically possible and economically reasonable to do so. We’re working on introducing materials we have direct access to into closed circuits,” says Marco Philippi, Head of Procurement Strategy. “As of now, for example, old car glazing is not being used to produce new car windows. We want to change that.”
Recycling also emits up to 30 percent less carbon dioxide compared with manufacturing new glass, so that’s another climate change win.
More than 480,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) were saved in the Audi supply chain in 2021. CO₂ equivalents are units of measurement to standardize the climate impact of different greenhouse gases. It converts and encapsulates greenhouse gases in CO₂ equivalents. The previously mentioned reduction in the Audi supply chain in 2021 was achieved by, among other things, using green energy in HV battery cell production and closing the material circuit for aluminium as well as the associated re-use of those materials. Without those steps, the conservation in Audi’s supply chain in 2021 would not have happened.