Turning Trash into Beauty

In addition to being re-made into utilitarian items, like beverage containers and sand, glass can be recycled into a variety of beautiful products. Generally, the recycling process is the same as for most glass. It is collected, crushed and washed, and melted. The glass can be mixed with metallic oxides to give a variety of colours. Once melted, the glass can be blown, molded or cast to create whatever items the artisan designs.

We don't know of anyone doing this in Saskatchewan (if you do, please tell us!), but here are a few examples of more artistic uses for recycled glass.

 Glassworks of Oakland,CA uses plate glass windows and glass doors for their supply, which is great—the regular recyclers (those making new bottles, for example) will not use window glass. The bowl pictured to the right is their handiwork.  glass bowl
 glass mosaic Mosaic Tile Arts of Seattle, WA, makes tumbled glass, which is "recycled glass which has been tumbled in sand to resemble sea glass or beach glass. All the edges are rounded off and the surface has a frosty texture." This can be made into mosaic tiles, or simply into small, attractive "bits" of glass, which can be used decoratively. The photo below is a mosaic house number made from their tumbled glass tiles. 

Recycled glass, once melted, can be blown or pressed into amazing designs: suncatchers, jewelry, ornaments, beads, table ware, even sculptures. The possibilities are limited only by the artist's imagination.

[Source: WasteWatch, March 2003 ]