Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What are YOU Throwing Away?

Last week I wrote on how the Algalita Marine Research Foundation is studying ways to combat plastic debris in the ocean which is leading to harmful effects on your health and the environment. Out of 14 BILLION pounds of trash in the ocean, how much of that do you think is glass wine bottles, or glass jam jars, or a cranberry bottle? Well, there is so much that the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup 2007 annual report named glass beverage bottles as a Top 10 Debris Item collected during their cleanup event. During their cleanup, volunteers found 81 birds, 63 fish, 49 invertebrates, 30 mammals, 11 reptiles, and 1 amphibian entangled or that had digested plastic bags, fishing line, nets, 6-pack holders, balloons, glass bottles, and cans. That's a lot of trash, and too many harmed animals.
Most people aren't aware that the sea glass that you find on the beach or on the ocean floor is actually disposed shards of glass from bottles, jars, windows, etc that has been smoothed, frosted, and textured from being tumbled and tossed in the waters of the ocean. In fact back in the 1800's glassware factories would dump any unused portions of glass into the ocean!
I love the quote from Ocean Conservancy's Senior VP, "Trash doesn't fall from the sky, it falls from people's hands". This is true for everyone, not just those that carelessly throw trash from their car windows. We are all responsible for producing trash in our homes, at work, and on vacations.
So how am I working to reuse, recycle, and make home decor? One of my latest products for sale on Etsy is addressing this very issue. My Pirate Treasure Glass Bottle Vase is made from a recycled glass wine bottle, transformed into a stunning brown painted vase with mounds of various types of sea shells such as: Scallops, Florida Spiny Jewelry Boxes, Moon Shells, Lightning Whelks, California Horn Snail Shells, Ribbed Cantharus, Ponderous Ark, and Barnacles.

By recycling this glass bottle, energy has been saved that can run a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. This bottle has also helped prevent 20% overall pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new glass bottle is made from raw materials. When this product is purchased, the buyer will help decrease the time it would take for this bottle to decompose, which is approximately 4,000 years- that's a big impact.

Recently I have been working on creating more vase bottles in different colors, shells, glass bottle shapes, and even moving into durable plastic containers. If you would like a custom vase for your home, leave me a comment :)

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