Upcycling glass bottles

glass bottles

Upcycling can give a lot of products a new, and sometimes even a second, life. Rubber tires, backpacks, wooden boxes, piggy banks, t-shirts and pillowcases are all valuable resources that may well be useful even after they have reached the end of their intended use. Old glass bottles offer an exceptionally wide range of ways to upcycle them: Mineral water and beer bottles can be turned into unique, handmade items with a new aesthetic and function.


At Cornelius Réer’s glass workshop in Karlsruhe, Germany, used glass beverage bottles are turned into unique items. Whilst the packaging always remains recognisable as such, it is given a new aesthetic and functional purpose. Conventional glass bottles mass-produced in Europe for water, wines and beer are used to create new, handmade products. SAMESAME is more than just the name of this series of objects; it also summarises the concept: The material may be the same, however, the processing is very different.


glass bottles
At Upcycle, processing used glass bottles generates income. Photo: UpcycleUpcycle

Upcycle, a South African glass recycling initiative, believes in giving packaging a new design. The upcycling project focuses on sustainability and also takes on a social aspect. Anyone who joins the initiative to upcycle empty packaging receives financial compensation for their time and efforts. This helps people who are financially less well-off generate a fixed income. Before joining the project, interested parties take part in trainings offered across the country; in Randburg near Pretoria, old wine and champagne bottles are turned into objects such as garden lights and vases as well as new bottles and glasses. All products are dishwasher-proof and microwaveable. Upcycle also carries out commissioned work and was recently awarded a contract to produce 5,000 glasses for one company. The glasses are made out of wine bottles and are now used in the company canteen, decorated with the company logo.

AR location technology is key for Third Aurora, an Australian-American start-up company for AR and AI applications. This technology allows companies to tailor AR marketing measures to regional as well as individual needs.  Thanks to the combination of augmented reality and artificial intelligence applications, European consumers using their smart devices to scan a bottle of wine in China, for example, do not receive information on the wine in Chinese but in their native language.


The True Fruits Upcycling series
Juices, teas and shampoos: When it comes to upcycling smoothie bottles, the possibilities are endless. Photo: True Fruits

Over the past six years, German smoothie provider True Fruit has developed a total of seven stainless-steel upcycling bottle toppers that can be attached to its range of 250 and 750 millilitre bottles, turning them into shampoo bottles, salt shakers and glass teapots with integrated tea strainers. But the company’s upcycling ideas don’t stop there. According to company statements, it is currently developing more solutions for reusing empty smoothie packaging. And suggestions are welcome: Customers can get creative and submit their upcycling suggestions to the Internet presence for publication.


In time for the 2020 carnival season in Germany, True Fruits dressed its smoothies up as Kölsch, a beer traditionally brewed in Cologne. Despite its new dress, the brand still remains alcohol-free.

In cooperation with the traditional Cölner Hofbräu Früh brewery, the company created two limited special editions under the Früh name. From the outside, the bottles are easily mistaken for a bottle of Früh beer. On the inside, however, the packaging contains a delicious passion fruit and mango smoothie.The special edition is available as a 250 millilitre version in a glass that is the mirror image of a Früh Kölsch glass as well as a 750 millilitre bottle sporting the characteristic red-and-white stripes used in Früh Kölsch cans. The special edition can be purchased in supermarkets across North Rhine-Westphalia – while stocks last. And if you want, you can fill the empty bottle with a nice, cold Kölsch.

The True Fruits Kölsch special edition small and large bottles
Looks like a Kölsch beer – but it’s actually a smoothie. Photo: True Fruits