Green VI's Glass Studio

PLEASE NOTE: Our studio in Cane Garden Bay is no longer operational as we are relocating Virgin Gorda. We hope to be hot for the 2017 season. We are very excited about the move! Part of the relocation plans are to implement an anerobic digester and use a resort's sewage, food and garden waste (including sargassum) to create methane that will power our furnace.

        Thank you to Paul who has made this great video that oulines our progress and next steps:

                                                  Thank you to beach tomato for this short, and very sweet video:

Why a Glass Studio?

Glass waste is particularly problematic in the BVI as melted glass adheres to the inside chambers of the incinerator and clogs up the equipment. Every six months the incinerator has to be shut down for at least ten days so that this glass can be manually chipped off. It is essential for the health of workers and the proper functioning of the incinerator that glass be removed from the waste stream. When applying the concept of waste as a resource to glass, many applications exist. Whilst not a solution for all the glass waste on Tortola, on a small scale, Green VI’s glass studio is an example of this “trash to treasure” concept. These are the benefits our Glass Studio promotes:

1) Socially Conscious, Interactive, Educational Attraction: Green VI’s Glass Studio demonstrates how what we perceive as "waste" can be used as a raw material inputs for our production processes, packaging and fuel. Our Glass Studio has welcomed thousands of visitors that include tourists, media, locals and students from every school in the BVI to watch “trash to treasure” in action!

  • Glass:  We process 200lb of discarded bottles per week out of season and in season we can process up to 400lb per week. Bottles are washed, labels and lids removed, smashed, melted down and converted into beautiful, handmade, recycled glass art. We hope to have an on-line shopping cart soon.
  • Used Vegetable Oil: To further the sustainability and teaching opportunities of the Glass Studio we have incorporated the reuse of used waste vegetable oil (UVO) collected from local restaurants. We have converted our glory hole so that it can run off this biofuel to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the studio as well as decrease operating costs. Reuse of UVO is also a teaching tool for the general public because it is not only a great alternative fuel source but also is an example of proper disposal. By reusing vegetable oil we can help alleviate major waste management problems such as grease clogging up sewer lines and drains as it cools and solidifies. 

Biofuel

  • Packaging: Our packaging further demonstrates the “trash to treasure” concept. Because of the BVI’s location, almost all goods are imported. The waste generated per person in the BVI is almost 50% higher than that of the average American and this is due, in part, to the packaging material of imported products. To use this valuable waste stream we do the following:

            - Bags: Our bags are made from old t-shirts that are being discarded. Barbara Bailey makes our bags and

             is currently assisted by an inmate at Her Majesty's Prison Service.

          - Boxes: Adina Potter came up with the idea to turn old boxes inside out and we screen print our logo on

            the box. We package our products with material such as old newspaper, discarded bubble wrap and

            other packaging materials that would otherwise be sent to the incinerator.

          - Gift boxes: Eldred Scatliffe is a gifted woodworker who has seen the potential in old pallets that are

            discarded. He creates beautiful wooden gift boxes for us like the ones below for Blue Chair Bay Rum. 

BCBR order

 Thanks to William Torrillo for the first image of the Blue Chair Bay Rum glass.

2) Job creation and skills transfer: Green VI has employs experienced glassblowers to train our local apprentices. Lion is learning the art of hot glass blowing whilst Andrew is learning flamework and is specializing in pendants. Up to five years will be required to transfer basic skills for the hot glass, while torch work is shorter. In a further effort to train our apprentices and expose them to the world class skills, we hope to develop a guest glass blower programme. 

Beach

In September 2013, with the generous funding from a private donor, Green VI sent Daryl “Lion” McClean  to attend Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State USA. (His report is attached below).

Lion Pilchuck

3) Local products: All goods made at our glass studio have a BVI logo. Goods are sold wholesale to stores and art galleries around the BVI. Signage displayed near goods says that items are made from recycled glass on Tortola and that proceeds from sales go toward a cleaner, greener and healthier BVI. Thanks to Todd vanSickle for these images:

products

4) Green VI’s main fundraiser: The Glass Studio will function as the main fundraiser for Green VI and support additional environmental projects. All profits will go toward research and implementation of further sustainability-related projects in the BVI. 

5) Catalyst for Green Initiatives: FusionStorm, (an USA-based IT company), not only ordered their handmade awards from the Studio, but also donated time and money to do a Green Makeover for Cane Garden Bay’s Ivan Dawson Primary School.

Here's a video by Rick Moore about the Cane Garden Bay glass studio that explains the process, from empty glass bottle trash, to beautiful new glass treasures ready to sell to customers.

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