Aileen Sevier writes about the wonderful world of wine for brands like protea. She holds the prestigious Diploma certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, an internationally recognized professional program. She’s sharing her favorite upcycling ideas with our readers.
In 1994, a German interiors contractor named Reiner Pilz, weary of seeing used materials tossed aside or, at best, broken down to be recycled, told an interviewer, “What we need is upcycling, where old products are given more value, not less.”
Now, nearly twenty years after Pilz coined the term, upcycling is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s a merging of the craft, environmental and DIY movements and is shifting the way people think about the whole-life possibilities for the stuff they use.
Protea, one of our featured wines of South Africa opens in a new tab, comes in a uniquely beautiful bottle that’s inspiring many shoppers to move beyond simply putting their empties in the recycling bin.
The gorgeous patterns are “painted” all the way around the bottle using an advanced screen application that fuses nontoxic ink with the glass at a very high temperature, This process makes the designs durable, and even more important, beautiful.
You’ll frequently find fans’ upcycling projects posted on protea’s facebook opens in a new tab page and blog opens in a new tab. Check them out for inspiration and instructions. Here are a few favorites:
Easy: (re)Fill the Bottle
For some protea fans, it’s enough to remove the back label – Popular Mechanics explores opens in a new tab the best way to do that – and pop some flowers into the bottle. Voila, a vase! Another simple idea is to transform the bottle into an olive oil dispenser; all it takes is a plug-in spout that can be had for a few bucks opens in a new tab. Along the same lines, the bottle can be used to hold infused vinegars opens in a new tab, which doesn’t involve much more than dropping a sprig of rosemary or any other herb into a cleaned bottle filled with good vinegar.
Medium: Flip and SwitchAnother popular option is to turn the bottle into a platform for lighting. The protea designs are elegant enough that just placing a candle will work nicely, or you could purchase a candelabra opens in a new tab for an even more impressive presentation. Protea electric lamps opens in a new tab have been popping up, too; with a kit, it’s not too involved, and this demonstration opens in a new tab shows you how to tackle the hardest part, drilling the hole in the bottle.
Difficult: Get out the Wet SawProtea bottles are even inspiring entrepreneurship. At the GoodFrog Candle Company opens in a new tab in Illinois, bottles once filled with wine are trimmed, polished and refilled with soy wax for a fun candle. The trimming of the bottle is accomplished with a wet saw fitted with a fine diamond blade. You can see the whole process on the protea website opens in a new tab.
Whether undertaking a simple or complex project, all upcyclers seem to have one thing in common: The desire to lessen their impact on the environment.
And as it was when Reiner Pilz coined the term, upcycling is about making cool stuff out of what you get your hands on.
Have you been inspired by protea’s beautiful bottles? What’s your favorite thing to upcycle?
Like protea on Facebook opens in a new tab and you’ll be entered to win an olive oil pourer, a protea upcycled candle or a protea t-shirt. They’re picking winners each week from now until December 16th.