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Put a Cork In It: Recycled Wine Bottle DIY

Put a Cork In It: Recycled Wine Bottle DIY

The recycling bin is overflowing with the remnants of holiday cheer. After each shindig this holiday season came the requisite trip to our basement recycling bin with an armful of bottles, then off to the recycling center.

What happens to all that glass? Much of it goes into making more glass bottles. At the recycling center, the glass gets broken up into smaller pieces called cullet. The broken pieces are crushed and sorted and used to make more glass. The cost savings of recycling is mainly in the use of energy. When glass is made from scratch, high temperatures are required to melt and combine all the ingredients. Since cullet melts at a lower temperature, the more of it you add to a batch of raw materials, the less energy you will need to melt it.

The Green Inc. estimates, ďthe average recycled content in glass containers in the United States is about 25 percent (but 60 percent for Europe, which is better at recycling).Ē

The wine industry has taken a stab at lessening their carbon footprint by offering packaging wine in boxes. Boxes require less energy for shipping, but is box wine green enough to be taken seriously? The paper, plastic and Mylar used in the manufacturing of the boxes might make box wine convenient, but not so eco. Itís the New Year and time to trim the trip to the recycling center by reusing those wine bottles. Below are some not so tipsy ideas for repurposing wine bottles:

Candlestick made from wine bottles with overflowing candle drippings are functional art. These candlesticks provide a colorful and appealing look reminiscent of a simple retro design.

How to make a Wine Bottle Candlestick:
1. Use a long thin taper candle.
2. Trim the candle to fit by softening the bottom of the candle with a lighted match or cut to size.
3. Make sure the candle is straight so the wax will drip evenly.
4. When the candle is burned out, replace it with another colored candle for a multi-colored effect.

Try these beautiful eco-friendly colored beeswax candles or these candles that can be placed right into the wine bottle.

Want more inspiration? These two projects require a glass cutter kit. This candleholder and vase are via Design Sponge. This project would not be recommended for use by children. The kits are relatively inexpensive at $35. Itís an investment that would easily payoff when making a bunch of these for gifts.

This hummingbird feeder is made from a wine bottle and requires no glass cutting: Feeder tubes can be bought at Amazon for about a buck.

Emptying those wine bottles can be lots of fun during the holiday season. Any other ideas on how to keeping bottles out of the recycling bin?

Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
12:33PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

Great idea! Thanks.

5:24PM PST on Feb 13, 2010

Been researching ways to use old bottles and jars outside.

11:49PM PDT on Jun 18, 2009

mega kabin

5:55AM PST on Jan 7, 2009

I've done the glasses thing too; plus used these as handy containers for storing liquids and even grains or other dry foods that can be poured (just cork them or use a cap if they are screw top), and I really like that garden path idea! My husband and I have been saving those large cheap wine jugs - begging them from everyone we could find - for about 10 years. Our idea has been when we had enough, we would stack them upright (one up, then one down - mouth to mouth) with glass cement between, to make an entire greenhouse - doing all the side and back walls with them and only putting ordinary glass on the south side for visibility and light penetration. That way, we could have ambient light all around PLUS more insulation than a single pane glass wall would give. We have several hundred collected at this point and we're hoping to build it this spring!

4:26PM PST on Jan 6, 2009

A friend built an outdoor sauna on his property in the Southern Tier (NY) and used wine bottles inserted into the walls as "windows" - since most of the people inside were barely clothed (if at all) it allowed for some light, and maintained everyone's privacy.....

I've been collecting blue wine bottles (Heron Hill Reisling, and the labels come off easily) and fill them with water, and put them on a south-facing windowsill to absorb sunlight (heat?) during the day in the winter, hoping that it will radiate into the room later. (mini passive solar water heat collectors....)

1:45AM PST on Jan 6, 2009

You know you can do the same with cans, you can design all kinds of things with cans.
Like using the cans as storage,candle holder,winebin, etc.,etc.
So you see everything can be recycled.
I´m Dutch of course,LOL.

8:10AM PST on Jan 5, 2009

find a home winemaker. a 5 gallon carboy can fill up a lot of bottles. maybe they will give you something back in return one day.

wash out the bottle and store water in it (corked)

7:51AM PST on Jan 5, 2009

From Instructables:

Wine Bottle Chandeliers

Wine Bottle hanging (swag) lamps

7:02AM PST on Jan 5, 2009

Back in The Day, I used a glass-cutting kit and some glass cement to make sets of wine glasses (from wine bottles) and beer glasses (from beer bottles), which I gave as gifts. The body of the bottle becomes the beverage part; the shoulder and neck, glued to the bottom of the bottle, becomes the stem.
But the most interesting use I've heard of was from an old boyfriend, son of a gardener: the gardener used to dig out a garden path to the depth of an average wine bottle, invert empty wine bottles and stand them close together in the dug-out path, and then refill the path with soil, tightly packed. My b-f says the resulting paths, looking like discs of glass but more deeply reflective when the sun shone on them, were beautiful. I haven't ever had enough bottles on hand to make the experiment, but for people who do save their bottles (and/or have friends who will donate), I think this would be worth a try! If your garden is big enough, it could absorb a lifetime of empties.

6:07AM PST on Jan 5, 2009

In Ontario, Canada, The Beer Store has recently started accepting wine bottles (along with all liquor bottles) in addition to beer bottles. We get 10-20 cents per bottle, depending on the size. I think the bottles are then refilled instead of recycled.

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