GREENTECH FESTIVAL: Focus on circular economy – pilot project for glass recycling becomes standard

GREENTECH FESTIVAL: Focus on circular economy – pilot project for glass recycling becomes standard

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Ingolstadt, June 12, 2023 – For the windshields in the Audi Q4 e-tron, the company with the four rings will use glass made of up to 30 percent recycled material from car windows damaged beyond repair in the future. In doing so, Audi will successfully shift the “GlassLoop” pilot project into standard production. Audi, in cooperation with its partner companies, is the first premium auto manufacturer to set up a glass cycle of this kind. Until now, car windows damaged beyond repair – mainly windshields and panoramic roofs – have been used for less demanding purposes, such as bottles or insulation, in what is known as downcycling. The pilot project was the first to demonstrate that glass could be reused at comparable quality. Audi will show just how that works from June 14 to 16 at the 2023 GREENTECH FESTIVAL in Berlin. The company has supported the sustainability conference as a founding partner since 2020.

Together with Reiling Glas Recycling, Saint-Gobain Glass, and Saint-Gobain Sekurit, Audi’s “ GlassLoop” project is showing how material cycles can be put into serial production. The partner companies spent about a year jointly testing ways to make new windshields for the Audi Q4 e-tron out of defective car glass. Now the process is ready for standard production: first, the car windows are broken up into small pieces using an innovative recycling process. Then all non-glass elements, like glue residue, are eliminated. The partners melt down the glass granulate obtained in this way and feed it into the production process for automotive plate glass. The secondary content of the glass produced in this way is up to 30 percent. The aim is to provide enough cullet to ensure a share of recycled material over the entire production life of the Audi Q4 e-tron - based on the currently planned production figures. From September 2023, the windshields produced in this way are to be used in the production of the Audi Q4 e-tron.

“If we process car windows that can no longer be repaired so that they are suitable for automotive production again, we need less raw material overall and avoid downcycling car windows that can no longer be repaired,” explains Philipp Eder, Project Manager for Circular Economy in the Supply Chain at Audi. Ultimately, using processed glass granulate makes it possible to reduce the need for primary materials like quartz sand.

Award winner: sustainability prize for glass recycling

The “GlassLoop” project is embedded in Audi’s Act4Impact program for the supply chain. The program’s vision is to configure the effects of Audi’s supply chain to be as gentle as possible on people and the environment. It is an imposition that pays off: As one of three awardees, Audi has been honored with the German Award for Sustainability Projects in the “Recycling Concept” category. This award is granted by the Deutsches Institut für Service-Qualität (German Institute for Service Quality), the ntv news network, and DUP UNTERNEHMER magazine, sponsored by Brigitte Zypries (retired German Minister of the Economy).

Audi wants to establish additional material cycles in the future. The company wants to increase the use of secondary material where it makes ecological and economic sense. “It is our goal to recover as many materials as possible at a high level of quality and reuse them in production,” says Chairman of the Board of Management at AUDI AG, Markus Duesmann. This saves valuable primary materials and can reduce the environmental impact of products.

The goal of the circular economy is to preserve material grade and quality for as long as possible. That is critical for making the materials usable within the auto industry again and not relegating them to less demanding uses. One of Audi’s focal areas is post-consumer materials. That means, for example, materials from customer vehicles that have reached the end of their life cycle. The aim is to reduce downcycling, or the decline in the quality of the materials through the recycling process, as much as possible.

Audi will be demonstrating how it is possible to carry extremely diverse materials like steel, aluminum, and plastic in a cycle at its pavilion at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL. The festival is in its fifth year and will have more than 190 exhibitors, and around 120 speakers, and expects to bring in over 15,000 attendees. The program for Europe’s largest festival of green innovations, which will take place on the grounds of Berlin’s former Tegel airport, will include open forums, panels, keynote speeches, and boot camps. The GREENTECH FESTIVAL was founded by sustainability entrepreneur Nico Rosberg and engineers Marco Voigt and Sven Krüger.

Audi Environmental Foundation scholarship recipient nominated

Another highlight is the GREEN AWARDS, which honor dedicated individuals, institutions, companies, startups, and innovations for their ideas about greater sustainability. The award will be presented on Wednesday (6/14) and environmental activist Sharona Shnayder has been nominated in the “Youngster” category. As an Audi Environmental Foundation scholarship recipient, she encourages people around the world to rid the environment of garbage with her Tuesdays for Trash movement.


Audi wants to achieve the net carbon neutrality of its production sites by 2025. To reach this objective, the company has initiated the Mission:Zero Environmental Program, through which it pools together of all its approaches to reducing its environmental impact in production and logistics. The environmental program goes beyond decarbonization and supports efficient water use, resource efficiency, and the protection and preservation of biodiversity.

Under the auspices of Mission:Zero, Audi will use sustainable, recyclable materials and a modular exhibition stand structure with a great deal of variability in its stand at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL.

Audi Environmental Foundation projects

At the festival, the Audi Environmental Foundation will present a range of its funding projects, including a project for remediating coastal areas in the US. The environmental initiatives Save the Bay in California and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the East Coast support the preservation of coastal waters as healthy and resilient ecosystems.

In Thailand, the Audi Environmental Foundation is working with the Ferry Porsche Foundation and everwave to remove trash from rivers and canals around the capital city of Bangkok with the help of a garbage collection boat. Along with the cleanups, structures for professional waste disposal are to be built.

With the URBANFILTER project, which will be presented at one of the Audi panels, the Audi Environmental Foundation and the Technical University of Berlin are developing innovative filter modules for road drainage. Tests in a laboratory at TU Berlin have shown that the filters work very effectively. In their test phase, the filters managed to trap “genuine” road grime, cigarette filters, and microplastics in the form of plastic granules of up to three millimeters in size, as well as candy wrappers, and lids from disposable coffee cups without clogging up. And that goes not only in light drizzle, but also heavy rainfall.

All information at a glance: the Audi sustainability hub

Not just at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL, all year long: Audi is implementing ESG criteria for environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and corporate governance in every department. The sustainability hub neatly bundles information. It is available in the Audi MediaCenter.