Every month, The Groundbreakers puts an inspiring initiative, product or company in the spotlight. By sharing knowledge and inspiration, we want to stimulate sustainable developments and we hope to contribute to the greening of the business community. This time we would like to highlight the Court of Cartesius in Utrecht. The Groundbreakers team was given a tour of this circularly built workplace. Finally, we did a workshop at the second-hand hardware store Buurman Utrecht. Rebottled out. A great company from Utrecht that transforms empty wine bottles into 100% sustainable design items, without using raw materials and without creating waste.

Time for a revolution in the glass industry

We like to consume a lot. We consume a lot and the waste mountain keeps growing. The world population is increasing, which increases the demand for products, but in the meantime our natural resources are becoming depleted. Fortunately, there are already many good initiatives to reuse products instead of making them new. In fact, the Dutch government wants to change our economy to a sustainable, fully circular economy by 2050. That means virtually no waste and smarter use of raw materials, products and services.

Yet wine bottles are still thrown away after use without a second life and recycling them still costs 85% of the energy required to make a new bottle. That 15% energy gain is not enough according to the founders of Rebottled. That's why they came up with a way to do something better with used wine bottles, namely transform them into sustainable design items.

Glasses, drinking bottles and lamps with a good story

Beautiful whiskey glasses and tumblers, decanters and even lamps are made from used wine bottles. This is also done without melting them down in energy-consuming ovens, but the bottles are cut, sanded and polished manually. More than 400,000 bottles have already been saved by Rebottled and now have a chance at a happy second life. This has already saved more than 150,000 kWh of energy compared to the production or recycling process of new glass. The upcycling of empty wine bottles into beautiful items is done by people who are at a distance from the labor market, which also makes Rebottled a social enterprise.

Crystal clear, right?

Rebottled's crystal-clear mission is: together we can make a change. They want to combat the waste problem in a sustainable and social way, starting with the glass industry. Rebottled looks at what products can still do for us instead of throwing them away after use. And they believe in a world in which the environment, people and business go hand in hand. And let's think about it the same way.