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What to do with a lot of empty wine bottles

 
pollinator
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Many years ago my father and I got into making wine. And as time goes on we have found that we make less wine now. The big issue now is trying to make space for other things besides empty wine bottles.  We have given some away but that is a lot of work. We have looked for a place to recycle but have not found a place. What types of crafts use wine bottles? What other uses have you found that use bottles? Any idea on who could use a lot of bottles? Any cool photos of projects that involve a lot of wine bottles, please post them here.
 
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Filled with water, wine bottles would provide a funky wall of thermal mass in a greenhouse -- as long as you are sure it won't freeze.

A couple of years ago I disassembled a concrete-cob clay oven (poor design, poor location, falling apart) and kept the materials for further adventures. They used a layer of wine bottles embedded in concrete to create a thermal break between the foundation and the oven.

If your local landfill has a "take it or leave it" spot, somebody who is starting winemaking may grab them all. Glass can be thoroughly cleaned since it won't absorb contamination.
 
T Blankinship
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

A couple of years ago I disassembled a concrete-cob clay oven (poor design, poor location, falling apart) and kept the materials for further adventures. They used a layer of wine bottles embedded in concrete to create a thermal break between the foundation and the oven.



Could wine bottles embedded in cob work well for a structural support? Say for a rocket oven. Use the bottle/cob mix to build a structure to support the top of the oven? Also maybe build support for a small table? I remember seeing a post about this on permies but I can not remember the name of the thread.
 
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What size/shape are they? I use different shapes and sizes for different purposes.
And color. You said art, what color are they?
 
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I use them as automatic waterers when I go on trips.  I fill them with water and stick them upside down into the pot.  
 
Pearl Sutton
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This is a fun link 20+ Creative Ways To Turn An Empty Wine Bottle Into A Practical Work Of Art
I was looking to see if I saw what I was dreaming up. Kind of like their garden wall, with the bottles threaded on rods, but I was thinking using them for cool stair balusters.
The garden wall picture:


The Balusters are the upright parts, the black pieces in this.


Glass bottles threaded on rods would look neat in the sun! Even if they are all clear and match. Neater if you can pattern a design with them.
 
T Blankinship
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Pearl Sutton wrote:What size/shape are they? I use different shapes and sizes for different purposes.
And color. You said art, what color are they?


Here is a photo with the numbers of bottles and color.
winebottles.jpg
wine bottles color
wine bottles color
 
Pearl Sutton
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I still have balusters on the brain. I bet one green on bottom, then a long neck clear and the stubby clear on top (ignoring the size you only have 17 of) would make a cool baluster. And you have enough to do a bunch. Deck rails would be neat!!
 
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I'm in a silly mood. I drew you a deck with wine bottle balusters :D

Wine-bottle-balusters.jpg
Wine bottle balusters
Wine bottle balusters
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Filled with dry char, sized small but still with lots of air space, wine bottles may offer insuation in a flame-resistant container. Just spitballin'.
 
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I use them with rubber stoppers for liquid herbal preparations, both culinary and medicinal; from tinctures to vinegars, to oils. Sometimes, even household cleaners.
 
pollinator
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Howdy!
I like this idea - the using them as decoration. Bottle Trees are still a thing in my part of The South.

That bottle wall looks great! I would worry about the potential for water to get into the bottle and do yucky things. Probably some silicone to seal them would make me happier about any outside bottle decoration thing.

You could use the broken ones for mosaics, pressed into the medium of your choice.
The heat sink area of a greenhouse is viable. People use plastic water jugs all the time, and the bottles would be immensely better looking.

Is there any sort of local Greensheet website, or Brewer's Guild club? They'd be first on my list. Glass bottles are expensive when you're first starting out in brewing, and having a freebie of more than 12 free bottles, first come/first served would get them gone, depending on the activity.
College areas, universities, and places where researchers might gather are also good spots. (For some strange reason, people who work in science or math fields tend to do a lot of "creative use of naturally occurring yeasts".)

If shipping were cheaper, I'd offer to take them - I'm going to be turning some 3 and 5 gallon wine bottles into fairy gardens, and the smaller sizes would give me a range of price points. With the high numbers of urban and retired people locally, I figure it'd help fill out a booth at a Farmer's Market or community flea market.

Or find a glass blower. They will crunch those up, then either use them as rolling decoration, melt them into glass slag buttons, or otherwise reuse them.

I know a lot of people from here-ish and westerly, (where alternative building forms are better accepted) will use bottles and cob in layers to make interesting wall designs. Usually inside the building, but not necessarily.

I have seen more than a few stained glass projects that used bottle bottoms as the glass part of a stained glass panel.  That would make in interesting "window" that no-one could see through.
I hope you are able to find someone local to you who will happily take your bottles. I'm now thinking I need to get out to the back shed  with my glass cutter and start reusing!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I wonder how many fresnel lenses from old TVs it would take to melt glass.
 
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I wonder how many fresnel lenses from old TVs it would take to melt glass.



Cool idea! I have thought about getting a few fresnel lenses.

 
Pearl Sutton
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I wonder how many fresnel lenses from old TVs it would take to melt glass.


Josiah, one of the guys at Wheaton labs. has worked on that. Solar Glass Recycler (aka Fresnel Lens Glass Melter - FLeGM)
I think it would be a shame to just melt them down, too useful as bottles, there's lots of glass not worth any other use to melt.

And Douglas: I have a bunch of the dollar store "Page magnifiers" which are 8.5 x 11 fresnels. Mom knew I wanted some, was out of town, at a store, called me "they have some of those, how many do you want?" "All of them they have!" She brought me home I think 28 of them...    I've only managed to scrape up one tv screen one. (maybe 2, I forget if I managed to get the other.) I don't think there's such a thing as too many fresnels  
 
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I got a fresnel lens out of an old TV and played with it a couple of hours. That thing could flat start a fire quick, fast and in a hurry!
So, I wonder... what could I create with these lenses that would be of benefit..

1. Could several page magnifiers be focused on a biochar container for the heat source? Might take a day or two longer to finish, but I'd bet that would work on a sunny day. Maybe set half the char container in a burn barrel to route off gasses to help with the process.

2. Could a page magnifier in a frame with a handle be an effective garden weeding tool? One could achieve pin point accuracy without disturbing adjacent vegetable roots. It wouldn't take long either. That focused sunlight would burn a weed off at the dirt level in seconds.

3. Could a fresnel lens, or several, be focused on mass in a greenhouse to provide night time warmth? That would take a little experimentation but seems like it might work even if on a limited scale.

Any other ideas?

I'm gonna have to do me some scientific investigations...
 
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I make a lot of wine and bottles are my largest expense.
When I have bottles that are no longer perfect for wine storage, a small chip, crack near top or whatever.  ..I use them with corks to put up honey, blueberry or blackberry syrup.  Ginger syrup etc.  I never have enough bottles.
 
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Hmm... 240 bottles is quite a bit...  Finding another home-winemaker that needs that many might be a bit difficult, though posting the lot for free on craigslist is always a last ditch option.  It feels like a bit of a waste, but an industrious recycler might do the pickup and appreciate that they are concentrated at one stop.

Homebrewing is much more common but unfortunately those bottles aren't pressure rated for carbonated liquid like beer or cider...  I really like the idea of trying to melt them with solar concentrators, but unfortunately I don't think it is very viable.  The tiny eco-village of Acrosanti tried pretty hard to make a solar concentrating forge for their bronze bells (in one of the hottest places in the country) and couldn't get it off the gound.

I really like Pearl's bottle wall post, that might be the lowest entropy use for a large bunch like this.

I can't find the article now, but there was a professor at University of Arizona that had come up with a simple thermite or thermite-type compound that could mixed in small quantities with broken glass to melt it into strong bricks.  The goal was, I think, to clean up areas on the nearby reservation that had become broken bottle dumps and use the material to build more structures for the reservation.  Pretty cool concept, not sure about how widely applicable it is.

Here are a few more options:
-Crushing glass to sand



 
T Blankinship
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quote=Pearl Sutton]
Josiah, one of the guys at Wheaton labs. has worked on that. Solar Glass Recycler (aka Fresnel Lens Glass Melter - FLeGM)
I think it would be a shame to just melt them down, too useful as bottles, there's lots of glass not worth any other use to melt.


Thank you for posting that link. I was trying to remember where I saw that experiment.

Michael Dotson wrote:

Could a page magnifier in a frame with a handle be an effective garden weeding tool? One could achieve pin point accuracy without disturbing adjacent vegetable roots. It wouldn't take long either. That focused sunlight would burn a weed off at the dirt level in seconds.



I like that idea. I may have to try that out this summer. Any idea on how big the magnifier would need to be as a weeding tool?
 
Michael Dotson
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I was thinking just a page magnifier fresnel would be about right. It wouldn't have to be large. Next time I get to town I'll buy some and play with it.
 
Michael Dotson
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T Blankinship wrote:Any idea on how big the magnifier would need to be as a weeding tool?



I'm sitting here drinking coffee and having a good think about this. It occurs to me the size of the weeds we intend to kill would be the driving force of how big it should be. Any weed in a tended garden wouldn't be big. Preferably any green that ain't been planted that has just popped up, so not big at all.
I'll cut one in half and then in half again until I get a good working size. Then, I'll rig some kind of handle and start playing.
Ought to be fun! Too bad this idea can't be patented now lol
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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