Making poured candles in recycled glass bottles - by Luis Villalobos

Glass Bottles and Jars Creative Reuse

How many plastic containers in your home could you replace with glass containers? When you watch videos of home tours by zero waste enthusiasts, you will notice that almost everything is in a glass bottle or jar. In this podcast episode, you’ll get inspired to look with new eyes on everything in your home. The simple glass bottle or jar can cause a chain of events that will lead to a much more sustainable life.

This topic was requested by my friend Alexis, who also inspired the episode on creative reuse of worn-out or mismatched socks. You can inspire a future podcast episode by sending any creative reuse questions to!

You can listen to my podcast episode on creative reuse of glass bottles in this YouTube video. It originally aired in August 2018.

Alexis said that she has beautiful glass bottles and jars – too beautiful to put in the recycling bin. She had already made a beautiful centerpiece by filling a bottle with LED lights. I never spent a lot of time thinking about glass jars and bottles because I know there are good markets for recycled glass. I wanted to focus my attention on items that would definitely go to landfill. However, it is better for the environment if we reuse jars than recycle them. It takes a lot of energy to pulverize and reconstitute glass, let alone transporting heavy glass from place to place.

There is a machine that can pulverize a glass bottle and make it into sand in only a few seconds. This sand can be used in industrial processes instead of harvesting sand from the environment, and there is a golf course in Laguna Beach which replenishes their bunkers with sand made from pulverized glass bottles. While it looks cool to see the glass pulverized instantly, there absolutely must be better ways to creatively reuse this material.

When I was growing up, we went to the Pop Shoppe where I was allowed to choose one bottle of soda for my family’s six pack, and we returned the bottles every week. Nowadays, my family purchases our milk in reusable bottles that go back to the farmer for reuse over and over. In Europe, there are better systems for recovering glass bottles and reusing them for the same purpose until they are too scratched up or chipped. Mason jars are extremely popular for many Pinterest projects, and many things you do with mason jars can be done with regular glass bottles and jars too.

This podcast talks about:

  • ways to creatively reuse glass bottles and jars that don’t require you to change the bottles and jars in any way
  • reuse ideas that involve painting bottles and jars
  • reuse ideas that involve cutting or melting bottles and jars
  • artists near you who want your beautiful glass bottles and jars
  • a fun vacation suggestion which is to visit glass bottle houses!

Creative Reuse Ideas for Glass Bottles and Jars in Your Home

How to remove stubborn labels from bottles and jars

Bottle organizer with hose clamps – keeps glass containers from sliding off a sink or counter top

Square wooden box to hold jars – keeps glass containers from sliding off a sink or counter top

Make a mason jar into a shaker jar with a recycled lid

Painted bottles with puffy paint for a “sea urchin design” by Danny Seo

Bottles decorated with paper napkins or tissue paper decoupage

Painted Jars

Foods to Make in Recycled Glass Jars and Bottles

These are ideas beyond canning.

Creative Reuse Ideas for Glass Bottles and Jars in your Yard or Patio

Patio Torches

Bottle Trees

Glass Bottle and Jar Crafts that Involve Cutting or Melting

There are tutorials that say you can cut glass bottles and jars with string and acetone, but I have heard that mostly does not work or leaves a jagged edge. Most artists recommend a basic bottle cutting tool which sells for about $20-40. Making crafts from bottles and jars can be a great craft business for someone who likes to do the same steps over and over with precision.

Recycled Glass Artists Who Might Want Your Colorful Glass Bottles and Jars

Zero Waste Home Tours

These are very inspiring to see how these families have replaced almost all plastic containers with glass ones.

Oberon and Laura Carter in Tasmania

Aline Gubri in France

Aline’s book is called Zéro plastique, Zéro Toxique.

Bottle Houses

Michael Reynolds, architect in New Mexico

Current and Upcoming Exhibits by some of my Favorite Creative Reuse Artists

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