TWO GARDENING TECHNIQUES TO REUSE WINE BOTTLES
According to a study by Innovative Green Solutions (IGS) in 2006, over 38 billion glass bottles were produced with approximately 12 percent of these bottles used for wines and spirits.
After two years, 2.81 million tons of glass bottles were recovered in recycling programs. This figure represents less than 30 percent of the glass bottles produced while the majority are discarded as rubbish, taken to the landfills and buried. Between eight and ten million tons of glass bottles are thrown away each year. These staggering figures are in the US alone, can you imagine how many are dumped by the rest of the world?
Recycling programs enable glass bottles to be processed into new products. They’re sorted by colour and melted down to make new bottles. Unfortunately however, this colour sorting process is not only very laborious but very expensive as well. Because of this dilemma, alternative solutions have to be considered for the future – it will become impossible to continue to bury everything we produce each year; more and more landfills reach capacity and are closed.
Four years ago, a known online wine retailer made a simple but progressive effort to help the environment by converting its small wine bottles into plastic packaging. Marks & Spencer has moved its range of 25cl wine bottles from glass to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which saves 525 tonnes of packaging a year. Recycling and landfill waste aside, M&S plastic bottles are 88 percent lighter than the glass bottles and use less energy to manufacture. The lightweight bottle also means that lorries use less fuel in delivering the wines.
People who enjoy gardening can also upcycle glass wine bottles by using them in various gardening projects, such as garden edging and do-it-yourself herb gardens.
Garden or landscape edging is a permanent, hard material that supplies a crisp edge between areas of the garden. Using landscape edging accentuates each area and defines the shape and form of the overall design of the garden. A wide range of materials is suitable for landscape edging. The material you choose should be based on function, style, and cost. Instead of using wood, brick, concrete, rocks or stones, you can reuse wine bottles for this garden project. This garden edging can look pretty ingenious if you leave the wine labels on and allow them to weather off naturally.
DIY herbal garden
Another use for your empty wine bottles instead of throwing them in a recycle bin is to make a DIY herbal garden. This garden project is from an episode from HomeMade Modern. Here, Ben Uyeda shows us how to use wine bottles to create this unique feature with just some copper tubing, a glass cutter and Goo Gone. The use of safety gloves and goggles is highly recommended for this project. After you gather your supplies, it will be just minutes before you’ve created a place to grow your favourite greens inside or outside your home.
These remarkable environment-friendly garden projects would give you good excuses to drink up and be merry 😉
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I was quite taken aback that there are still thousands of glass bottles going into landfill, wrongly assuming that everybody recycles nowadays. With bottle banks everywhere it begs the questions why?? It’s good to see larger companies taking some responsibility in trying to address these issues. However, given the concerns over the use of plastic bottles recently and in particular BPA, I’m wondering what your thoughts are on companies switching from glass to PET plastic for soft drinks or alcohol? Does it bother you? Are you concerned about the taste, risk of contamination or whether the environmental impact might be less or worse because of it? Are we getting so caught up in the worries over our health because of modern manufacturing methods we’re forgetting how to just live life?
I find recycling so confusing. I’m never sure which is better, glass or plastic. On the side of plastic I can just put it in my recycle bin glass bottles tend to pile up until we get around going to the recycling bank.
My initial thoughts would be that if I saw vodka in a plastic bottle I’d imagine the quality wasn’t as good. That’s just perception, my logical brain would get around it but it’s a perception I imagine a lot of people have.
I think you’ve nailed it Amanda and it’s why I was happy to publish the post. There are most definitely pros and cons to both – I had never considered the weight of bottles in transport for instance, that alone must make a huge difference given how many containers are on the roads and ships every day and as Lorna mentioned, once we get used to something and are happy with it, we just accept it.
I’m surprised more don’t bring them to bottle banks too.
Re using plastic instead of glass – Is it what we get used to though? After all, fizzy drinks like Lucozade used to be in glass bottles. We used to see a bottle of wine with a screw top as interior?
I think people would adapt
I have to agree with you Lorna. Once the taste hasn’t been compromised I don’t see a problem. Given that we’re not collecting wine and it wont be hanging around in our wine rack for more than a couple of weeks, would we even notice the difference!
In Germany you pay a little deposit on bottles, plastic and glass. That way nobody throws them away and brings them back to the shops. It also means that the bottles can be used again, they only have to be washed and cleaned.
That’s a great idea Bianka and would certainly encourage recycling. Growing up as a child in the UK I remember deposits on glass bottles as we used to go and look for them and take them back to shops as a way of topping up our pocket money!
It’s not a shock to me that so many glass bottles still end up in landfill. As chair of the local Tidy Towns group I have conducted surveys on recycling and reusing and believe it or not there is a high percentage of people who just don’t do either. I have friends who think I am too ‘green’ and they see no harm in putting everything into the household rubbish bin. I don’t know if it’s just laziness, not caring or simply just not understanding the implications of their actions on the environment.
Concerns on the use of BPA is appearing more and more in the media but there are also concerns about PET plastic especially if it is being reused. PET bottles may be safe for one-time use, but re-use should be avoided because studies indicate they break down over time and may leach DEHP—another probable human carcinogen—when they are in less than perfect condition.
Personally I don’t think the plastic tastes the food and years ago minerals could only be bought in glass bottles and now it is the norm to see the same minerals being sold in plastic bottles. I think once we get used to something we just go with the flow.
My biggest concern is that if companies continue to move away from glass and replace it with PET plastic are they going to alert the customer about the dangers of reusing it? And if they do, will that reduce the sale of their product? They’ll be caught between a rock and a hard place!
You’ve made some good points there Mary and agree that more awareness campaigns need to be made to alert the public about plastic. Business’ could do a lot more to encourage recycling from some of the behaviour I’ve noticed in offices etc. If staff got into the habit of recycling at work, they’d be more likely to do it at home. I find it quite shocking to see people throw plastic water cups clean and waste paper into workplace bins that aren’t segregated, as observed even today in a meeting.
We found after carrying out our surveys that targeting the schools was the best way to send the message home about recycling etc.Our local school received their first green flag last year and as you know the first theme is litter and waste. The kids were more than enthusiastic to spread the word 🙂 The message is trickling out there slowly but surely but a lot more could be done!
Hmmm, you’ve given me an idea, will think on it Mary 😉
Ian’s just been telling me that collecting cans is how the homeless make some money in the US. They have large bins that as you put the tins in, it counts them and then gives money out, all automated. I’m wondering why we don’t do the same here. It would stop all the bag loads of rubbish that we see dumped in the hedgerows perhaps?
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