Monday, January 29, 2007

Surfeit of wine bottles

What to do?

We drink wine with dinner every night (for our health, dontcha know), which means that we need to dispose of around three bottles every week.

I live in a county that recycles cardboard and plastic—but not glass. (Very weird, I know, but that’s New Mexico.)

Last summer’s unrealized ambition was to build a wall or garden feature out of concrete and old wine bottles. Cool, no?

However, I am no engineer, and I could not find any instructions (in print or online) on how to do this. Does one fill the bottles with sand first? How does one make the wall structurally sound? How high can one build? (Does anybody out there know how to do this?)

Hunting online for what to do with old wine bottles brought suggestions that were, frankly, unappealing:

  • Place them around the house for decoration. (Tasteful, no?)
  • Fill them with vinegar or other liquid. (Que???)

Clearly, these people do not know how many wine bottles I have.

My other brilliant idea was to make beach glass (aka sea glass) out of smashed up bottles. This can be used for sustainable crafting, landscaping, etc. I could give some to the local arts class, to a local jewelry-making class, etc. (!!!)

I went online and found clear, easy instructions , as well as a source for needed equipment.

I put a tumbler on my Christmas list. Et voila! I am now a proud owner of the necessary apparatus.

Only after I received the gift did it occur to me that I was going to need to use electricity to tumble the glass—thereby using resources in an attempt to save resources. Huh.

The tumbler, it turns out, uses 36 watts; but it has to run for DAYS to get the glass polished and smooth.

I am not sure what this means in terms of energy use: is this a sensible endeavor—or am I better off just burying the bottles and waiting for time to do her thing?

At the moment, I am tumbling the smashed bits of a cava bottle and a Grand Marnier bottle (both remnants of last weekend's birthday).

I'll post a picture of the final product if/when it happens. I don't know if this will take DAYS or WEEKS, but I do know that I have a hell of a lot of wine bottles that I don't know what to do with.

Your comments humbly invited!


Stephanie said...

Sometimes I have the distinct sensation we are twins separated at birth.

A couple of months ago, I wanted to find a purpose for all the old glass in the informal dump in the national forest behind our house. I decided that making something tumbled glass might do the trick. But you're much further than I ever got.

Btw, I know that Earthships in Taos use recycled cans and bottles in walls. Perhaps you might find instructions from building earthships?

And, I like the photos very much.

Elizabeth said...

Huh. So you don't follow every crazy impulse and get yourself into bizarre situations like having a rock tumbler going full tilt in your guest bathroom?

I am googling "Earthship wine bottle" at this very moment... Thanks. :)

Stephanie said...

People owe me a lot of money so I cannot buy a rock tumbler. But perhaps if I were paid, I would have honored the urge. :) Where did you get it?

Elizabeth said...

Ah. I am regretting the purchase a bit. Sometimes these gut instincts don't quite play out--like the frozen sheep's head saga. But that's another story.

I go the tumbler from . I mailordered it and then discovered that they're in New Mexico! And they are very nice. They send a hand-written thank-you for ordering and a free fossil!

I had forgotten that you ar a rockhound. I was thinking of you as Ms. Theologian!

Tiana said...

Have you looked into petitioning your county to start recycling glass?

Elizabeth said...

No--that would be a good, grassroots thing to do. (Though it is a pretty poor country, and so I am not so sure abotu making demands on its infrastructure. I'll ask around.) Thanks!