To supply Investec with 5000 hand cut, polished and sand blasted glasses from discarded wine bottles. To further our training project for the development and upskilling of community people as well as create awareness to all involved about the necessity of reducing our impact on the environment.
Though Investec’s agents we have set up the project to source and process 5000 used wine bottles into glasses that will be sandblasted with the Investec logo and by-line. The requirements were to upcycle wine bottles into glasses while taking the opportunity to involving community members in assisting with the project.
Upcycle started this journey by sourcing the wine bottles from many of the local restaurants, interested companies, private individuals and street collectors. Upcycle has also included purchasing of glass bottles from Remade Germiston to secure sufficient source material to maintain the project till the community “by in” can support the project alone.
It has been inspirational to see the way our community has rallied around this initiative to make a difference to the planet and how keen they are to get involved in helping with this project. We have several restaurants that have allocated space to store bottle for our weekly collection, One or two shops that have volunteered to be drop off points and we even have private individuals
Upcycle is always looking to provide an environment in which there is training, development and growth of new businesses such as the “Investec glass project” to further our communities. As we have an affinity for upcycle have put a lot of time and energy into mastering the art of cutting, polishing and finishing off glass products. Once we had established the best practice of making glasses, vases, planters etc. we took our skills to the orange farm community where we have trained unemployed individual to master these concepts and products. We have been teaching them the basics art of glass cutting and how to work with it as part of the basics of how to upcycle waste. This community have been taught sewing, and various other upcycle skill. The basic process of cutting and polishing glass can be done from home in quite a small space and with a small outlay. This is great for individuals to make and sell in their own capacity; products for their friends and family and local community. These products are very much handmade and take about a half hour per glass to make from beginning to end.
As upcycle have been training on how to make this product for over a year, Investec approached us to make them glasses on a large scale. The process of manufacturing these glasses in a mass production situation required much more specialised equipment and a dedicated space to manufacture in. Investec’s order has enabled this to happen.
This is the point at which some of our community members that have really loved working with glass and have master the understanding of how glass breaks, were invited to join us in creating these 5000 glasses. They have now learned how to take their small business to the next level and understand the difference between individual handmade product and mass production. We have Employed 3 people out of the Orange farm community members to help us complete this order. Upcycle is working hard at finding more opportunities to grow this aspect, to be able to afford them fulltime employment.
We have also had the opportunity to pay a lady with her own transport to collect bottles for us. We have developed relationships with 15 restaurants and many individuals to collect bottles for us and support this project. Several street collectors have been able to sell glass bottles to us making their range of product better and of more value. We have also been able to set up 2 more training days to master the art of glass recycle in the orange farm community.
Through the order placed by Investec we have been able to take our glass project from a fledgling to the level required to meet the demands. We have the equipment and expertise to create and make almost anything from glass bottles. In order for it to continue to support the community and be successful there has to be ongoing interest from the public as well as private sector to continue to purchase the products in order to sustain what has been created.Visit our product page to see what we have for sale. Glass products
The most common form of glass used in recycling is container glass, namely bottles and jars. Other forms of glass, like Pyrex and window glass, are technically recyclable but can not be mixed as they contain certain other chemicals in their make-up. Many recycling companies will not accept the latter because of the specialized machinery needed and time consumed in the recycling process.
To prepare your glass bottles and jars for recycling, first rinse and then place in separate packets to your other waste. Try not to break the glass intentionally. If you are dropping off glass at a recycling plant, check with that specific plant as to whether they prefer the glass broken or intact, and if they prefer the glass separated in different colours.
Once the glass reaches the plant, a mechanical processing system breaks it into small pieces called cullet. Metals, labels, plastic, rings and caps are then separated using magnets, screens and vacuum systems. From there, the cullet is mixed with measured amounts of silica sand, soda ash and limestone. The mixture is then placed into a furnace which melts it into molten glass. This molten glass is then poured into moulds and slowly cooled down - the slow cooling process helps strengthen the glass. From there, the new glass containers are packed for resale. A small amount of recycled glass is also sent to other companies who specialize in manufacturing stained glass.
Remember that South Africa, like certain other countries, has a deposit system on certain cool drink bottles, which allows for immediate reuse after thorough washing and decontamination. This is an economical and energy-saving system and affords the person in possession of the bottle a small sum of money when handed in at certain retailers. So, rather than leaving those bottles for recycling, hand them in for immediate reward.