Recycling Double Glazed Units – Where and How?

Old red window unit

If you’re concerned about your impact on the environment, you really can’t go wrong with double glazing. Double glazing will reduce your carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency in the home. In most cases, they are also manufactured using sustainable processes and materials. So when it comes to replacing your windows, it’s important to remember to dispose of your old windows correctly and recycle as much as possible. 

Which windows can be recycled? 

If the windows you are replacing were installed in the 70s or sooner, it’s possible that they will contain lead paint. If this is the case, they will need to be disposed of according to strict regulations. Your window installer will be familiar with these, but it’s important that you check they are doing this correctly. 

On the other hand uPVC is a completely recyclable material, so if the windows you are disposing of are uPVC, you are in luck. The glass in your windows can also be recycled; however it is a little more complicated than recycling, say, a glass bottle. Different windows use different types of glass, each of which has its own chemical composition and separate melting point. The good news is, recycling your glass isn’t completely impossible. 

Recycling your old windows 

In order to effectively recycle your old windows, you’ll need to separate out the composite materials. Start by unscrewing the windows from their hinges and then removing the glass from the frames using a hammer and a chisel. 

Once you’ve separated the materials, contact your local council to determine your nearest building material reuse centre. They will also be able to advise you on what materials are likely to be accepted at the centre.

Once you have disposed of your old double-glazing, you then need to make sure you are replacing them with sustainably manufactured double-glazing units to ensure you keep up the good work in helping the environment.