Monday, May 04, 2009
How to recycle.... your wine bottles!
So, if you're anything like me, you have wine bottles galore and no idea what to do with them. Which kinda blows since often times those wine bottles were a little sentimental. Someone gave them to you or you picked them up while out doing something memorable and you don't just want to chunk them into your glass recycling bin and let them go.
But having a shitload of empty wine bottles just sitting around might be a little tacky.
So what do you do?

The other day, The Cake Lady left this comment:
I have been straining my brain to come up with ways to recycle the empty wine bottles and wine corks at work. I HATE throwing them away! I have some ideas up my sleeve! PLUS it alleviates the guilt, a little! on this post and got my brain wheels a-spinnin'... and my fingers to a-googlin' and I managed to find some pretty nifty junk out there in Internet Land.

First of all, let's tackle the aforementioned problem of not wanting to part with those sentimental bottles after having consumed them. Because we totally know we consume them ;) What good is wine if it stays forever corked and never ingested? No good, I say.
So if you are all about saving the labels and tucking them away as memorabilia to pull out later and admire wistfully, well apparently there is a way to do that without tearing the label up into tiny little pieces. It involves some kind of clear tape, either yours or specially ordered from various websites. If the tape method ain't your thang, you can try the blow-dryer method or the hot water method.
But what are you gonna do with it once you safely remove it from the bottle?

You could always make a wine label scrap book and put a little note on each one mentioning where it came from and when you guzzled it down and which break up that was following and whether you woke up confused or not. I mean, why not right? Nothing like some hard core proof of exactly how many bottles of vino you've consumed in your lifetime right?
Or, if you are particularly creative, which I've mentioned numerous times that I am not, you could turn it into something you could actually use. Like a little coin purse?

Not to knock one of The Creative People, but I'd be much more likely to use this to store some souvenirs from the trip where I got the wine or for a cd or the torn up bits of the pictures of the boy who broke my heart and pushed me into a night of shotgunning wine rather than a coin purse, but whatevs.
And dudes, let me tell you, this chic can make a freaking coin purse from anything!
But I digress.
So for your wine labels? Scrapbook them, frame them, make freaking coin purses out of them.

Let's move on to the corks. Corks are bound to have more uses than the labels did...

Fact: Around 13 billion natural cork stoppers are sold each year! It takes about 300,000 wine corks (100,000 sparkling wine) to reclaim a ton of cork (2,000 pounds).
So what can we do with them?
Well for starters, dropping them off to be recycled hasn't quite picked up anywhere yet except for California BUT you can mail them to TerraCycle and they will recycle them for you! Their website even tells you how much it will cost to send them in. AND they take all kinds of random stuff via snail mail. Yogurt cups, energy bar wrappers, drink pouches, cookie wrappers... check em out.

But you want to repurpose your wine corks huh? The first and probably the most obvious idea is to make a "cork-board".

My aunt saves all of her corks in a big bowl for exactly this reason. Once she gets enough she has her trusty husband whip her up a frame and gets to arranging and then BAM! - corkboard.
Aaaannnnd that was pretty much where the "normal" repurposing of corks ended. You can, and people apparently do glue them to anything. I won't waste your time by posting a whole "How to glue your wine cork to..." list because I don't think ya'll want cabinet doors covered in wine corks or something like this:
Back away from the glue gun people.
Just put it down and slowly back away.

Let's move on shall we?
Because really, it was the wine bottles that got us started on this whole thing right? You can make a ton of stuff from wine bottles.
But here's the thing, much of it involves some pretty hard core crafting abilities, one of those super hero powers I don't yet have.
The first hard core crafting super hero power I don't have involves a kiln to melt your wine bottle so you can "slump it" and make it into a spoon holder for your stove or a tray for some cheese. This looks hard and dangerous. But if you have a kiln and have managed not to burn off an appendage, go for it!

Now say you want to get all crazy up in here and actually cut that wine bottle up and make something rad yo. Well this, even though still pretty dangerous to those of us who've injured ourselves with scissors while opening a box seems to be less for the super hero crafters and maybe a little more for the novice crafters. You can get a glass saw at your local hardware store for less than ten bucks. It seems it takes a little practice to perfect the art of using said saw, but the possibilities then become virtually endless.

If you don't want to mess with the glass cutter, another option is to light a tea candle, and put it on a secure surface. Hold the wine bottle horizontally over the candle so the flame just barely touches the middle of the bottle. Hold the wine bottle's ends with both hands, and slowly rotate the bottle over the flame, as if the flame was cutting around the wine bottle. After about five minutes of this, the wine bottle should have cleanly cut in half. If it hasn't done this after five minutes, run the section under cold water. It will break in half if it hasn't already. The edges are extremely sharp after this process, so use sand paper to smooth out the edges.
You can take the broken pieces and turn them into "sea glass" and make some hanging wind chime-y type things or jewelry or a put it into a jar or whatever people do with sea glass.
If you became wicked good at the cutting part, you could make some pretty cool shit.

You can even make drinking glasses...
There is apparently some MAD sandpapering that must take place after you've cut the glass so you don't slice your mouth open with your new cup. But pretty right? And you can probably etch these or use that etching paint stuff... Dang it, I know I saw the whole frosting/etching of glass the other day but I can't find it right now...

One very cool option for wine bottles, and something you could totally do outside when you have company is turning them into oil burning lamps. Now the kits cost around $15.00 but still, how nice. The Cake Lady emailed that she loved these... and you know, with some online digging around, you may even find someone who could sell you the glass tops cheaper and then do the rest yourself. TCL, who is suddenly starting to feel passionate about the whole Earth Friendly things (one down, two gazillion to go :P) says: "You can actually use old t-shirts (recycle them) to make wicks and then use canola oil I think for the lamp oil. All natural and all recycled! The only thing you need then is the wick holder and it's ceramic."

Want to bring a little more nature inside your office or home or someone else's home? You can turn you old wine bottles into terrariums! Nothing like a plant that virtually takes care of itself.

Ok, one last thing... Say you don't want to do anything with your wine bottle but you do want to keep it instead of throwing it into your glass bin, you can buy candles that are shaped and painted to look like wine corks! How cool is that? You can order the candles and give the bottle back to whomever gave it to you to begin with! I'm trying to convince The Cake Lady to start making these and if she does I will put a link on the sidebar that you can click on to order them :)

So that's it.... or at least it is for me. Do you have another idea that we didn't cover? Post it in the comments!
Live long and prosper recycle! pssst- You can still prosper too!

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 3:50 AM
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