McLaren Construction is working with Saint-Gobain to recycle the glass from nearly 3,500 windows in four tower blocks in a closed-loop recycling initiative that it says is the first of its kind at this scale.

The contractor is refurbishing the 23-storey blocks at the Chalcots Estate in Camden. Waste contractor Powerday will collect and crush the window glass, with resulting cullet recycled back into window glass manufactured by Saint-Gobain.

Saint-Gobain is aiming for more than 25% of its glass to be recycled from post-consumer cullet by 2050, while the proportion currently stands at less than 1%.

McLaren’s Claire Tribe explained “In principle, glass is infinitely recyclable, but we don’t recycle enough of it and we haven’t got to grips with the challenges around higher-grade glass.

“Recycling window glass at scale in this way is essential to providing manufacturers with a reliable flow of material so that they can commit to high levels of recycled content in new glass. What we have been able to do here is connect the circular economy and create capacity in the UK recycling sector for future construction projects.”

In this project, Alutrade will take the end-of-life aluminium window frames back through the circular economy.

The McLaren project is the latest in a growing movement towards glass recycling. Last month, the GGF launched a major initiative to recycle IGUs via 12 UK trial sites while Morley Glass, again working with Saint-Gobain, in December announced that it has recycled 1,000 tonnes of mostly post-consumer, glass in two years 

A GGF spokesperson said: “GGF Group supports the return of all material relating to the replacement of windows and doors, which is why we have introduced services for recycling PVC-U and aluminium frames, and now glass cullet, with the expectation we will increase the service in the near future.”

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