Last Updated: Aug 09, 2017     Views: 1223

I listed a variety of websites that address the issues in making beads or other pieces from recycled glass. None provide all the answers - take a look to see if you think using recycled bottles is worth it. There seems to be some risk - a high percentage of failure and high energy usage. Some artists are making successful pieces:

This video shows Cathi Milligan making beads from strips cut from recycled bottles.

Recycle, Reuse, Reward: Recycled Bottle Beads by Cathi Milligan, From "Jewelry Making" episode DJMK-506, DIY (Do It Yourself) Newtwork:,2025,DIY

Kauai Recycling for the Arts:

makes recycled glass jewelry, functional and architectural pieces. They reuse specific types of glass for their products. From their website:
Kauai Recycling for the Arts OPERATION BOTTLE CLEAN is asking friends and volunteers to save your glass bottles for our recycling projects! Right now, we are looking for:
Blue glass (Skyy vodka and other dark blues)
Pale aqua glass (some square vinegar bottles)
Blue Nun wine bottles
Other unique colors of glass
Please remove the labels and bring the bottles to our studio at the Kauai Resource Center.
Brown, green, clear or yellow beer or wine bottles
Clear glass jars

You might wish to contact them for more information about using recycled glass for jewelry.

This website offers a number of technical reports to help you sort through glass recycling information:

The book, Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling


The article beginning on page 291 discusses the changes in glass composition when recycled amber bottle glass is used. It also mentions the addition of various chemicals to stabilize problems.

Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling: Glass Waste : Proceedings of the International Conference Organised by the Concrete and Masonry Research Group and Held at Kingston University - London on 14-15 September 2004. By Mukesh C. Limbachiya, J. J. Roberts. Contributors: Mukesh C. Limbachiya, J. J. Roberts.
Published by Thomas Telford, 2004. 362 pages. ISBN 0727732846, 9780727732842

The Glass Art Society hosted a recycling glass panel at their 2008 conference in Portland, OR. Their 2008 Glass Art Society Journal should include a four-page summary when it is published next spring.

Issues to consider:

- Compatibility / coefficient of expansion (bottles, even from the same "box" may not be compatible; some sites suggest using glass from one bottle in when lampworking, fusing, or creating frit for adding to a mold)

- Use cullet from glass factories instead of bottles

- When melting a pot of recycled glass, add additional batch materials to refine the glass
"Color Modification of Post-Consumer Glass Cullet" and "Using Post-Consumer Glass for Glass Blowing and Glass Casting"

- Testing Washed Bottles for the Creation of Glass Fusing Kits:

- The Warm Glass website has a great deal of information about fusing glass, including recycling. Search their site for additional tips:

Warm Glass website:

These websites are just a start! I attached a lengthy bibliography relating to recycling glass.

If you wish to obtain copies of any of these items, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library is a member of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC); your library can contact us through OCLC or they may mail an Interlibrary Loan form to us. You may request up to five items at a time. We send photocopies of articles and microfiche copies of our books (if they have been microfilmed) through Interlibrary Loan for four weeks use.

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