It can be pretty mortifying to fill up your recycling bin with clean, perfectly usable vessels, sturdy cardboard, single sided paper and the like. We’re starting to lament sending well designed, functional objects to a recycling plant. It’s better than landfill, but still requires masses of energy to mulch or break down to aggregate.
It got us thinking how we can avoid, or at least delay this by simply reusing or altering these objects for another use right on our doorsteps. Eco-friendly company Hen & Hammock are helping us to do just that – confessing that even as a retailer they’d rather we home-made rather than bought. They’ve given us the nudge with ten unusual, thought-provoking ways to reuse glass wine bottles.
1. Mole Control. Place an empty wine bottle on its side close to a mole run, allow the breeze to pass just over to generate a haunting hum that discourages moles from setting up shop in your garden.
2. Bottle Glockenspiel.Tack several bottles in a box together and fill with progressive quantities of water (this creates different tones). Gather friends and family and start your own percussion band.
3. Plant Watering Bottle.Make small holes in a screw top wine bottle lid, upend the bottle and push tightly into the soil close to the plant. Water slowly drips out keeping the plant constantly hydrated.
4. Novel Boot Shapers.Insert the bottle like a prosthetic glass foot – it’ll keep the leather taut and in shape ready for autumn.
5. Hanging Bottle Vases. String bottles over branches on garden trees and fill each with fresh flowers. Great to add sporadic splashes of colour.
6. Regulate Greenhouse Temperatures with a Heat Sink. Fill a large pit with broken bottles, pump the greenhouse air through it using a length of tube and a 12v fan (which can be solar powered). Voila – a constant air temperature.
7. Insulation for a Clay Oven. Between the strength of the glass and the trapped pockets of air they create they’re ideal as internal material for an outdoor oven base.
8. A quirky Rolling Pin. The narrow type of ‘claret’ bottle is particularly effective.
9. Mood Table Lighting. Go either Dickensian by inserting a long candle into the bottle neck, or try a modern take by threading in a strand of small fairy lights.
10. Home-made wine, or other boozy ventures. Remember to sterilise well before use, but go forth for some berry experiments.
Hen & Hammock have managed to combine ecologically conscious design without compromising on aesthetics. They stock products from ethical, Fairtrade, and charitable ventures, as well as a decent range of reuse items. Obviously not everything can be reused indefinitely, but if we put our imaginations to the test we can extend the lives of our materials so much more.