How It's Made: Recycled Glass from COPAVIC

Fun fact: Glass is one of the only materials in the world that can be recycled infinitely without losing any of its strength or quality. We're huge fans of the 3 R's here at Greenheart Shop, which is why all of the glass products we carry are made from recycled materials. We're reducing waste by reusing discarded glass and creating a new product from the recycled materials. BAM. Does it get any better than that?!

All of our glass products are made exclusively for our Sobremesa tabletop line through a partnership with COPAVIC, a worker-owned glass blowing cooperative in Guatemala. Founded in the mid-1970’s, COPAVIC - which stands for The Recycled Glass Cooperative of Cantel - crafts drinking glasses, pitchers, vases, and a range of other glassware from recycled soda bottles and other glass shards found in their community. Good for the economy, good for the environment. We absolutely love this partnership.

COPAVIC’s studios are full of piping hot ovens, cranked up to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and piled high with piles of glass bottles.

To start making a new piece, one of COPAVIC’s glass blowers will reach into an oven with a long metal rod, called a blow stick. After pulling out a lump of clear molten glass, he’ll roll it out on a cold, flat, metal surface to give it a round shape. He must keep the glass in constant motion, so he’ll continue to spin the blow stick as he re-heats the glass several times during the process of creating the shape he wants.

Next, he’ll roll the glass through another oven with blue, green, or multi-colored molten glass to add a colorful rim to the piece.

After that’s done, he continues to shape the piece - using instruments to add indents, rims, and ridges to make each piece unique from all the others. Remember - he must keep spinning the piece and re-heat it frequently throughout this process!

And finally, it’s time for glassblowing, where the artist blows through the stick to perfectly form the shape of the glass. At this point, he’ll also carefully transfer the piece to a new metal rod in order to form an opening on one end of the piece.

Finally, he removes the piece from the blow stick and places it in a final oven to slowly cool it down. This process can take several hours, to ensure that the glass won’t crack during the cooling process. Once it’s been cooled, the artist goes back over the piece to sand off any sharp edges.

It’s a long, slow process - one that must be repeated many times over to create the single set of glasses you use to set your table with at mealtime. We are so proud to partner with talented artists to create one-of-a-kind glass pieces that we know you’ll love and cherish for years to come! 

Shop our full range of recycled glassware here