Eco-Glassware: Recycling Glass Bottles

By  0 Comments

Clean up your act—get rid of those plastic soap bottles and fill a wine bottle with your favorite dish or hand soap. Stick a pour spout into the opening for proper dispensing.


Sorting through plastic, cardboard and glass for recycling is a tedious chore, but one that plays a crucial role in taking care of the environment. Yet there’s a way to make recycling much more exciting. Instead of hauling your old wine and beer bottles to the recycler, try turning them into something useful. Empty bottles are perfect examples of annoying recyclables with untapped crafting potential, and you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to craft some amazing house wares. All you need are a few tools, a steady hand and a lot of patience.

Cutting glass bottles

Some bottle crafts require glass cutting, and there are several ways that work. Using a glass cutter is the best way to achieve an even line and ensure you’re cutting in the right place. The method below uses a Generation Green (g2) bottle cutter, which most major craft stores have in stock. Be sure to use protective eyewear to prevent injury.

Start by choosing your favorite wine or beer bottles. Remove any labels. Fill two large pots, one with boiling water, and one with ice water. Place the opening of the bottle into the top of the cutter, adjusting its arms until the blade is lined up exactly where you want the score line to be made. Tighten the bolts to keep the bottle in place. With one hand on the cutter and one on the bottle, slowly turn the bottle in a continuous motion until you’ve made a thin line around the whole bottle—this line will be the place where the bottle breaks off. While gently holding the top of the bottle with tongs, place the bottle in the hot water for five to eight seconds, being sure to cover the line you just made. Switch the bottle over to the ice water for another five to eight seconds. Repeat this process until the bottle breaks; it should crack and break along the scored line. Use medium to fine grit sandpaper to soften the edges—but take care to do this over a waste container to keep glass shards off the floor.

Drinking glasses

Turn your empty beer and wine bottles into chic drinking glasses. This eco-friendly glassware is perfect in a college student’s apartment, a “man-cave” or your home bar. Your glass will be made from the bottom portion of the bottle, so be sure to consider preferences for size, logo and indentations on the bottom of the bottle. Simply cut off the bottleneck at your preferred glass height and sand the edges.

Candle holders

Cut the bottle to the height of your preference and set the top half over your candle for an elegant covering. You can use both the top and bottom, just one piece, or a mix of both to create interesting mood lighting. These coverings are perfect for outdoor candles, as they protect the flame from the wind while still allowing the light to shine through.

Self-watering planter

Cut the bottle so the bottom portion is slightly larger than the top. The neck needs enough space to nest inside the bottom portion with at least an inch of space between it and the base. Sand the edges. Braid some old towel or T-shirt scraps to make a wick long enough to reach half the length of the bottle. Turn the top portion upside down and line it with either screen or fabric so that soil can’t fall through the neck. Make a small hole in your lining and pull the wick through it, leaving enough at the end for it to reach the bottom of the bottle. Fill the top portion with potting soil and plant seeds or a small live plant. Add water to the bottom portion and make sure the wick is submerged in the water.

Water dispenser

Turning your empty wine bottle into a water dispenser for your plants is easily done in two steps—no cutting or sanding required. Drill a hole through the cork and put it back in the bottle full of water. Simply shove the neck several inches into the soil and your plants will be hydrated for several days.

Soap dispenser

Clean up your act—get rid of those plastic soap bottles and fill a wine bottle with your favorite dish or hand soap. Stick a pour spout into the opening for proper dispensing. Play with different shapes and colors to distinguish between types of soap.


Wine bottles make perfect vases. Try painting them, wrapping them with twine or yarn, cutting the neck at an interesting angle, or even leaving them as is. Fill them with flowers or try stuffing string lights inside.

Crafting those bottles taking up space in your recycling bin into something useful is thrifty and exciting, and they can fill a variety of needs while being both practical and chic.

     Sources:, and,