Saturday, April 22 was Earth Day 2023, and the efforts and initiatives it champions remain relevant for the auto glass industry and its customers throughout the year. Linda Rollinson, owner of Superior Auto Glass of Tampa Bay in New Port Richey, Fla., summarizes the issue with a single, clear point: “Save that windshield, don’t put it in the landfill.”
According to Key Media & Research, parent company of glassBYTEs and AGRR magazine, more than 7 million windshield repairs take place each year. That equates to potentially 7 million fewer windshields in the landfill. That can make a big difference for the environment, especially when taking into account the difficulties of recycling auto glass.
“That’s what they used to say about it, that it takes more energy to recycle a windshield, because of the laminate, than it does to make one,” Rollinson says.
Windshield repairs account for approximately 40-45% of the jobs at Superior Auto Glass of Tampa Bay, with Rollinson noting that figure has been on the rise in recent years. She attributes the increase in repairs to bolstered educational efforts leading to customer realizations that repairs are cheaper, less time consuming and keep glass from landfills.
“Plus, you never know when you’re going to get hit again,” Rollinson says.
According to KMR data, windshield repairs are likely to increase in the future, thanks to educational efforts and increased awareness.
“And the rate of repairs to replacements is likely increasing due to the uptick in cost for replacing windshields, as well as increased awareness of the repair option (and more shops adding this service),” reads an analysis of the data.
Rollinson says, though, that the increase in repair jobs is not necessarily a result of customer concern for the environment.
“It’s kind of faded a little bit,” Rollinson says of environmentally-friendly sentiments. “Years ago, it seemed like people were more concerned about saving the environment than they are now. Every once in a while, I do get customers who ask me if the glass is recyclable, but not as much as I used to.”
Rollinson’s response to such inquiries drives home the important part auto glass repair can play in taking care of the environment.
“Save that windshield, don’t put it in the landfill,” Rollinson says.