Returning glass to the supply chain | The Structural Engineer

12 February 2024

Architectural flat glass is a high value material but typically has a 25-30 year design life and therefore must be replaced at least once over a building’s lifespan. Yet very little of this product is recycled due to the composite nature of insulated glazing units, with most waste being downcycled, used as aggregate or landfilled.

Recycled flat glass can have a 40% lower carbon footprint than new flat glass, and recycling old glass reduces the need for raw material extraction and reduces construction waste. Glass can be endlessly recycled without compromising its quality. Throughout history, there has been a tradition of reusing and recycling materials in construction, dating back to the Roman Empire, which implemented regulations regarding demolition practices. Traditionally, the recovery of demolition materials has been driven by the need to meet material demand and reduce fabrication costs.

Read the full article to explore Graham Coult and Rebecca Hartwell’s investigation into improving glass recycling, reuse and their suggested actions for the construction industry to support this goal, including Eckersley O’Callaghan’s launch of to support glazing recovery.

Returning glass to the supply chain |