Refresh Your Events

Last month I attended an event in California. Our group enjoyed a great conference as well as many after-hour social events. Although the meeting was planned as environmentally conscious as possible, I noticed that the empty wine bottles of our events were thrown out with the trash. Hundreds, if not thousands of wine bottles must be disposed of monthly at the resort in that manner.

A week or two later I crossed paths at a Conscious Capitalism workshop with Refresh Glass, a Phoenix-based company that collects thousands of empty wine bottles from the community a week, and repurposes those into functional products for everyday use. They recognized the need to repurpose these empties and created partnerships with many local restaurants and hotels to collect their empty wine bottles in the Phoenix area.

As a planner I recognized a special synergy between an event and the repurposing of the event’s empty wine bottles. You can have bottles from their collections crafted into glasses with company or event logos, and gift them to speakers, attendees and VIPs post event. On a more intimate scale you can have special wine bottles repurposed into glasses for a newly married couple.

Refresh Glass also offers glasses with chalkboard labels that can be used to indicate place settings at events. Bottles are also repurposed as vases and candleholders. Their products get animated responses because of people’s love for aesthetic and functional items that have a story, in addition to their love for wine. Each piece they create is truly unique and has its own personality.

All of the bottles transformed by Refresh Glass are currently collected by businesses and individuals in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Ray DelMuro, Refresh Glass Founder and Owner established a goal for his company to rescue 10 million bottles, keep them out of landfills and repurpose them.

Items to gift at events can be ordered online starting at $5. Custom projects are priced accordingly and usually take 7 to 10 days from order to delivery.

Wine Bottles Get a Second Life

There are no official numbers, but apparently there are a lot of wine drinkers in Phoenix.

So, you can imagine how that could lead to quite a few empty bottles … maybe millions.

That’s why Tempe-based Refresh Glass is on a 10-million bottle rescue mission and gaining national attention at the same time.
They’re turning trash into something to be treasured.

“I started out of my garage, collecting bottles in my 4-Runner and I just wanted to make a living,” said Ray Del Muro, Refresh Glass founder. “It’s kind of grown organically on its own just because of people’s love for wine and because of the concept that it’s possible to take something that used to be thrown away and make something so valuable.”

At Refresh Glass, workers collect thousands of empty wine bottles each week from restaurants and businesses across the Valley. Then they repurpose those empty bottles into items such as drinking glasses, planters, carafes and candleholders.

“I’ve always loved art and my background is in engineering,” Del Muro said. “So, I wanted to combine the two worlds together in a way that helps the community at the same time.”

The company also celebrates the uniqueness of each bottle and what each one represents.

“The variety is still amazing to me,” Del Muro said. “Hundreds of different bottle shapes and combine that with all the hues and then the fun part for us is the history. Every bottle has its own story.”

Across the country, people are taking notice of what’s happening at Refresh Glass and placing orders.

“There’s so much potential,” Del Muro said. “We’re collecting a small fraction of all the bottles that are generated in the Valley. And to be able to make them into something functional that people can enjoy over and over again is a really awesome feeling.” Refresh Glass has collection sites for empty wine bottles at Whole Foods stores in Tempe and Chandler.

One Bottle at a Time – Old wine bottles become works of art

By Katie Snyder

 

Ray DelMuro has always known what he’s destined for.

“I’ve loved making things since I was young,” says DelMuro. “From Legos to welding my own furniture in college, I always knew it would be a part of my life in some way, shape or form.”

And it was. DelMuro’s glass making odyssey started back in 2008. DelMuro was working as a manufacturing engineer for a Southern California aerospace company when he started experimenting with empty wine bottles and a bottle-cutting kit.

“More than two-thirds of wine bottles in America are not recycled,” says DelMuro. “I wanted to find a solution, improve our planet and make something useful out of the bottles.”

Determined, he sat for hours, sanding and cutting away until he had a functional piece of art.

“It was a challenge,” says DelMuro. “My first bottle took hours.”

Eventually he figured it out and decided to take his experiment and turn it into a business. That same year, DelMuro launched Refresh Glass, a Phoenix-based company that recycles empty wine bottles, turning them into drinking glasses, vases and other works of art.

“Refresh Glass has transformed a problem into an effective business model,” says DelMuro.

And it has worked. Every month more than 10,000 wine bottles are recycled from area restaurants, bars and hotels. They are then cleaned, stocked by color, manufactured with custom built machinery and polished at a manufacturing facility in Tempe.

Today, Refresh Glass has recycled over 400,000 wine bottles and his products can be found online or at Valley establishments like Postino, Pizzeria Bianco, Hyatt Gainey Ranch, Phoenix Public Market and Practical Art.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community,” says DelMuro. “Every week we have people wanting to get involved on some level and help provide us with empty wine bottles or support our mission by featuring our products.”

But their bottle rescue mission doesn’t stop there. According to DelMuro, Refresh Glass has big plans for 2014, thanks to a recent partnership with Valley grocery chain, Whole Foods.

“Together with Whole Foods, we plan to launch a bottle collection program,” says DelMuro. “This will allow more individuals to get involved and help our bottle rescue mission.”

The program will start in Tempe and eventually run in all Valley Whole Food stores as well as those in the Southern Pacific United States. The popular grocery chain will sell DelMuro’s products as well.

“This is a great opportunity for Refresh Glass,” says DelMuro. “We couldn’t be more excited and this is just one of our planned business ventures that will come in 2014.”

Also in 2014, Refresh Glass plans to join forces with other Valley hotels and event venues offering what DelMuro is calling the “Refresh Memories Kit.”

“From weddings to birthday parties, this kit will allow people to relive their most cherished memories,” says DelMuro.

According to DelMuro there will be several different options that include various types of bottles and an etching option, all for under $500.

“From our custom packages to our individual products like vases, glassware and candle holders–our product is unique,” says DelMuro. “With the continued support from our partners and various clients, we hope to continue our bottle rescue mission and show our on-going commitment to bettering the planet one bottle at a time.”

CONTACT REFRESH GLASS