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From windscreens to carpets

Glass is endless. That is the slogan of Maltha glass recycling, where a circular economy has existed for years. Glass is unique as it can be re-used without a loss of quality. We deliver recycled glass as pure as possible to the glass and glass fiber industry. With our advanced equipment we are able to reduce pollution to a few grams per ton of glass.

Maltha recycles hollow glass (bottles), all kinds of flat glass, even car windscreens. A car windscreen consists of two layers of glass with an invisible layer of laminate called PVB (PolyVinyl Butyral). The PVB ensures that upon impact the glass doesn’t shatter into shards but retains its strength and is preserved as a whole. Until recently, it has been almost impossible to recycle the PVB laminate which resulted in it becoming waste in landfills. However, Maltha has teamed with Shark Solutions, the world leader in post-consumer PVB recycling and reprocessing.

Once Maltha has freed the glass from the PVB laminate, Shark Solutions is able to reprocess it, using its specialized technology, to give it a new life in many products.

There are over a billion cars in the world, and an average of 5 to 6% will have a new windscreen each year. This means there is worldwide one million cubic meters of PVB available for recycling.

The process of PVB recycling is a good study in supply chain collaboration. Maltha is one of the main glass recyclers in Europe. Through its focused engineering and advanced sorting techniques, the PVB from car windscreens is able to be freed and available for recycling and reprocessing.

The PVB scrap is transferred to Shark Solutions, which recycles and reprocesses it into granulate, flake and even liquid. One use of this recycled and reprocessed PVB has been in carpet tiles. Through over seven years of R&D, Shark Solutions now transforms what had been considered scrap into useable advanced recycled material that leading manufacturers use in their products, such as carpet tiles.

Carpet Tile Manufacturer Interface closes the chain from waste to new products. The use of such secondary raw materials of high quality fits into the zero waste strategy of Interface. After the PVB is refined into a dispersion it is used in the precoat compound. The precoat is applied to the carpet. Using recycled PVB reduces the carbon footprint of the precoat by 80% compared to traditional latex. This brings Interface one step closer to Mission Zero, the mission to have zero negative impact on the environment by 2020.

This fine example in sustainability is enhanced even further because as a result of the recycled PVB, the CO2 footprint is reduced and the carpet itself becomes more recyclable at end of life. Maltha, Shark Solutions and Interface are focused on giving waste a second life and helping to improve the environment. Another great example of 'Waste no more'.