JN Phillips Launches GreenShield(SM) Windshield Recycling Program
November 1, 2010

JN Phillips Auto Glass has launched a program by which it will recycle 100 percent of the windshields it replaces, according to the company officials. Through the program, which the company is calling "GreenShield(SM)", the Woburn, Mass.-based chain will collect all of the used windshields from its multiple locations at a central facility. The windshields will then be bulk-shipped to a recycling facility in the Midwest that has developed a process for pulverizing laminated auto glass and separating the glass from the PVB, according to the company.

Upon final processing, the PVB plastic will be able to be used in various industrial adhesive applications and the processed glass material-often called "glass cullet"-will be available for use in numerous applications, including fiberglass insulation and even concrete, according to a company statement.

"GreenShield is our commitment to the environment. And while it requires some extra effort and care, we believe it's worth the investment," said Bob Rosenfield, president of JN Phillips. "Customers have been asking about windshield recycling for some time and we are very pleased to be able to offer a solution. It's the right thing to do for the environment and our business. We are pleased by the initial reception from the insurance industry and look forward to working with others in the windshield replacement process to help keep as much glass and plastic as possible out of landfills."

The company began researching the process two years ago and, based on its average annual replacement volume, anticipates the GreenShield program will save approximately five million pounds of glass and plastic from landfills each year.

"We couldn't see a reason not to do it," Rosenfield told glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR magazine. "It seems like the right thing to do and, I guess the most relevant thing would be, everyone would say 'you can't do it, you can't separate out the glass-it can't be done, it's never been done' and we don't mind a challenge. We think the effort is worth it because of the result."

JN Phillips looked at a number of options during the research phase of the project. "We looked at purchasing equipment and conducting the recycling ourselves. We looked at partnering with local firms and partnering with others in the glass recycling space that understood what it was to re-process laminated glass," said Rosenfield. "Ultimately we found a partner that presented us the ability to process both the glass and the plastic, which was a key priority for us. We wanted as close to 100 percent of the windshield to be turned into a re-useable product."

Rosenfield declined to identify the specific company with which it is working. As for offsetting the costs of the program, he said JN Phillips currently is still in the research phase.

"We made a significant [initial] investment, but I don't think I'd quote an exact dollar amount," said Rosenfield. "There are additional costs associated with this waste flow compared to putting it in the landfill. For the first couple of weeks we're in an introductory period and we're in the process of finalizing how it will ultimately be costed out."

JN Phillips already has begun marketing the program to insurers, and has received a pledge from Electric Insurance Co. that it will inform its policyholders about the GreenShield recycling option.

"We've gone out to carriers and laid out for them what the process is, how it's going to work and what the end result will be," said Rosenfield. "And, of course, the idea that the windshield is part of an insurance claim and can find a reuse is something that's certainly very exciting to them."

And Rosenfield said he hopes other auto glass businesses will follow suit with the program. "We would certainly like to see 100 percent of replaced windshields be recycled rather than go into the landfill," he said.

He offered a simple tip for others researching such a program. "Be thorough," he said.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to AGRR magazine.