BottleHood turns glass trash into tumblers with a story [updated]
BottleHood co-founder Steve Cherry describes the up-cycled bottleware company he started with partner Leslie Tiano as "tree-hugger meets high-tech entrepreneur." The San Diego start-up reclaims bottles and employs local labor to repurpose the blue, green, brown and clear glass into tumblers, vases and other items. Even better, he does it with retail pricing that starts at $5 per piece, competitive with products made in China. [Updated 1/25/10 1:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post did not include Leslie Tiano as co-founder.]
About 80% of wine bottles end up in landfills, Cherry says, because, unlike beer and soda bottles, they don't have a California Redemption Value. "When you realize that glass takes 4,000 years to decompose, burying it is not a sustainable solution," says Cherry. He got his start last year by turning a local restaurant's cobalt water bottles into votives, which were then used to decorate the restaurant (and sold to diners who asked for them).
"It's a whole circle of sustainability," he says. "I take his trash, I employ guys to turn it into useful products, I sell it to the restaurant that gave me the glass, and they sell it back to the customers that ordered the water in the first place."
The bottles are cut on diamond saws, ground on diamond polishing wheels and buffed with polishing compounds. It's "a more energy-efficient way of converting glass into glassware than torches and kilns," Cherry says. BottleHood operates only in San Diego, but Cherry believes the concept holds potential for "every city, state and country."
-- Susan Carpenter
Photos from BottleHood