Wine drinkers can accumulate a large number of wine bottles. Throwing away these bottles is wasteful in more ways than one: it adds to the waste in the landfill and misses an opportunity for a wine consumer to make some extra cash!
Avoid the Landfills
The disposal of wine bottles adds to the wine industry's carbon footprint. Cyrill Penn of Wine Business Monthly writes, "While there are more than 300 million cases of wine sold in the U.S. each year, virtually none of those bottles is reused. An increasing number are recycled, but most--EPA has estimated 70 percent--end up in landfills." Though some companies specialize in producing refillable wine bottles for wineries, these bottles do not have widespread use in the wine industry. It is up to consumers to find ways to recycle and reuse wine bottles to keep them out of the landfill. Creative wine drinkers can turn this effort into a way to make, or at least save, money.
Recycling for Money
Some states pay for the return of glass bottles. Consumers living or purchasing wine in these states can make a small amount of money for recycling bottles. With a concerted effort, these payments can add up to valuable cash. People not living in or near these states will have difficulty making money from simple recycling (which is required and encouraged in most areas) and, according to an Associated Press article, states that pay for recycling only benefit from the return of bottles purchased in the same state and lose money paying for the recycling of bottles brought in from other states.
Re-using for Money
A more lucrative option for making money from empty wine bottles is reusing or re-purposing the bottles into creative and trendy decorative crafts or practical and functional items for the home and garden. Wine bottles can be used to create salable decorative items that can sell well. Wine-related décor creates a festive and attractive ambiance in the home. The wine-related décor may include candle holders, drinking glasses or soap dispensers. Green Eco Services recommends making wine bottle tiki torches to add a decorative touch to a patio or yard while repelling bugs. Take wine bottle crafts to flea markets, go to craft shows, list them at online auction sites, or simply spread the word among friends and colleagues. Ideas for how to use wine bottles for crafts are limited only by your imagination. Even if a creator of a craft chooses not to sell an item, wine crafts save money by making special, personal gifts. Even if the financial rewards for recycling and reusing wine bottles are small or slow, the environmental benefits are worth the effort.