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Energy-Saving Way to Recycle Bottles into Drinking Glasses

I'm Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Development Report.

Recycling makes things like paper or glass or metal useful again. It means the resources that went into making them were not wasted. With glass, it is said that for every one thousand kilograms recycled, one thousand two hundred kilograms of raw materials are saved. Recycling also means that communities have to deal with less waste.

The process of recycling can give things not only a new life but, in some cases, a different one. Glass bottles, for example, can become drinking glasses.

First, the base is removed from the bottle. Then the bottle is turned upside down and the neck is attached to the base. The used bottle that would have been thrown away has now become a good looking drinking glass.

It is not easy to make this happen, though. The biggest problem is how to attach the base to the neck of the bottle turned upside down.

Two South African businessmen, Sean Penrith and Philip Tetley, looked for a large glass manufacturer that could do it. But they had no luck. So they experimented for eight months. Many broken bottles later, they found a way.

Their company, called Green Glass, won a Business of the Year award in nineteen ninety-four. It was voted among the best new businesses in South Africa. The inventors received worldwide patent rights to own the process they developed.

More recently, the Green Glass idea has expanded into markets in Europe and the United States.

Green Glass U.K. says on its Web site that it now makes one hundred fifty thousand glasses per year. The factory in Cornwall, England, employs ten people.

The company says it saves ninety percent of the energy normally used to make recycled glass. The energy is saved because the glass is not melted. The glass is heated, however, to strengthen it.

The Green Glass process takes about three hours to make a bottle into a drinking glass. The bottle goes through seven machines, all designed and built by the company itself. Broken bottles cannot be used. So Green Glass U.K. says it must find bottles anywhere it can.

Internet users can see how a drinking bottle becomes a drinking glass at

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Gary Garriott. I’m Gwen Outen.