Glass blowing

Clear Answer to Why We Should Recycle Glass

Remark Glass

5. Gender Equality 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Remark Glass is a zero-waste certified, woman-owned business that aims to innovate and repurpose glass. The purpose of Remark is to better the Philadelphia community and change the trajectory of glass waste. Through bottle glass donations from the local community and business, Remark can utilize every part of the glass bottle to produce and create functional, everyday glassware. This business strives to bring awareness to SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production in using recycled glass and ensuring we rethink how we view trash in society.

Authors

Maggie Koch

Maggie Koch

Kenesha Jones

Kenesha Jones

Heather Jones

Heather Jones

Caitlin Lewis

Caitlin Lewis

Bridget Herbert

Bridget Herbert

School

Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph's University

Professor

David Steingard

David Steingard

Innovation

The remark was founded in 2016 by two women who wanted to branch out and start their own business in a predominantly male industry honed in sustainability. The Remark team aims to upcycle and repurpose glass by glassblowing and thereby create different products such as tabletop items, barware products, lights and decor, and keepsake gifts. Remark Glass has the unique opportunity to source and removes the glass from the waste cycle without damaging its quality. Their team believes that “glass is never, and has never been single-use; society has created this idea.” This statement led to the innovation of melting recycled glass to upcycle and repurpose it to create functional, everyday glassware. Their sister business, Underground Bottle, is a non-profit. This organization is where they collect post-consumer glass to reduce waste. Remark Glass then uses this glass to clean, reshape, and repurpose glass. Rebecca and Danielle wanted to remove themselves from the male domination they found in their other jobs in the glass industry. This purpose led to more research about waste management and a desire to stop the overproduction of waste in the Greater Philadelphia area. This mission led to the creation of Remark Glass and eventually Underground Bottle, which has been successful for the past six years!

Clear Answer to Why We Should Recycle Glass

Inspiration

The remark was founded in 2016 by two women, Danielle Ruttenberg and Rebecca Davies. These women worked in the glass industry prior and noticed how male-driven it was. To differentiate themselves from a primarily male-dominated industry, they work with bottle glass because they see it as an untapped resource with a unique design opportunity and a sustainable and energy-efficient way to accomplish their glass-blowing dreams. They want society to restructure how we think about trash. Davies mentions "that we look at other peoples' used stuff like trash. How many people would want to use a wine bottle that someone else threw out? If we view it as trash, it becomes useless. That wine bottle can easily become something useful for another person. If we begin to think like this, more things become useful in a different form and not just trash." Davies hopes to reshape thought and restructure how we think about trash because glass isn't trash & never meant to be trash.

Overall impact

The overall impact of Remark is to source glass materials from the waste cycle and repurpose them to create beautiful, everyday functional use. The short-term effect is that they allow people in the local community to drop off glass bottles where they are properly recycled and given a new life. Sourcing from the local community eliminates the post-consumer glass ending up in landfills. The long-term effects of Remark are meaningful, long-term partnerships with local communities and businesses. They create beautiful glassware sourced from the community and give back beautiful, repurposed items to surrounding communities and local businesses to support them as well. The Remarks' sustainable glass blowing process strives to eliminate any negative impact on the environment and local economy. The purpose of the business goes beyond this as well. By dismantling how society thinks about trash, it works towards a zero-waste lifestyle for more than just one business. It is easy to repliacte their model. Remark Glass' impact is in the Philadelphia area, but it is a model that other cities can use, which grows the zero waste attitude.

Business benefit

Remark Glass collects monthly donations of glass through their sister company, Bottle Underground, where they clean and sorts the glass materials. Their donations come from the local community and businesses, and they have recycled 71,090 lbs of glass overall. They also partner with local organizations to build the Philadelphia economy and work to honor the triple-bottom line. They have partnerships with local Philadelphia businesses that will buy their repurposed glass from them. For example, a local beauty retailer will ask for the supply of glass products to package their face lotions or body scrubs, and Remark Glass becomes a part of their supply chain. This cycle cleans the Philadelphia area, reduces production costs for other businesses, and keeps the local economy growing as small businesses can partner with one another for growth and impact.

Social and environmental benefit

The Remark is truly amazing and is committed to eliminating any negative impact on the environment and the local economy. With the belief that glass has never been single-use, the company is committed to zero waste. Since ⅔ of post-consumer glass ends up in a landfill, Remark is committed to upcycling, recycling, downcycling, or recirculating glass back into the community to zero waste. Their process is a zero-waste process illustrating the environmental benefit of their business. They contribute to the economy while creating a positive impact on the environment. Together with the environmental impact, they foster an inclusive and creative workspace. They left the main glass-blowing industry because it was not a place where it fostered thought and creativity but rather a cut-throat pace. Once the Co-Founders had children, they recognized the life they were leading and did not want to be a part of it anymore. Davies told us she started the space while her son was still learning to walk. She brought him in, and her employees loved working while her son was there. It’s a workplace that recognizes humanity as well. They hire creative people who want to mold the glass into something new and can see the beauty in that. The team collaborates on projects from the de-labeling to the heating to the marketing. They work towards the same goal that creates passion and excitement rather than competition.

Interviews

Kate Duffy, Development Manager

Rebecca Davies, Co-Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Remark Glass

Remark Glass

Philadelphia, PA, US

Business Website: https://remarkglass.com

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Remark Glass was established in 2016. Finding a home in the newly reopened Bok Building in South Philadelphia, our small team set out to change the glassblowing course. Our passion for our craft has met our care for our environment, and we rise to the challenge of designing as many glass products as we can from waste material.

-Remark Glass Website