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 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.