It all began with Gary Vaynerchuk. He and I were at an event together last year and I asked him, “Do you know how many wine bottles are recycled every year?” His answer: “I have no idea, but I would like to know.” Statistics are vague on world wine bottle production, but from what I can glean, wine bottle production is close to a billion bottles per year annually.
A billion. That got me to thinking about how many are thrown in the landfills and not recycled. It seems that we are losing a great resource by throwing all that glass in the garbage. Wine bottles can be useful.
With that in mind, I decided to try my hand at reusing wine bottles. I think Gary would be proud of my efforts. It is a first step towards actually doing something and not just whining about the issue. Bottom line: making a difference, even a small one, is better than doing nothing at all.
My first project – building a non-permanent wine bottle path in my back yard. By building a temporary path, I did not have to get permission from the city or my homeowners association. It can be pulled up with little effort, but is still a comfortable walking path which connects my two side yard flagstone paths. You can see the before photo below.
How To Build A Wine Bottle Path
- Wine bottles
- Stepping stones and/or bricks
- Grit, pebbles, or lime screenings
- Weed control landscape fabric
- Shovels and/or grass stripping materials
Step 1 – Lay out the materials first to make sure you have enough stepping stones and like the shape and pattern of path you are building. (see photo above right)
Step 2 – Remove grass, either by hand, or by using a sod cutting machine. I had my landscaping buddy’s from Barton Landscaping come in and help me take up the grass and dig a level inch deep path area to help me save my back. They also dug a 3 inch deep trench on the outside of the path, which is where the wine bottles will be positioned. If you are doing the digging on your own, just take it small steps at a time so you do not hurt yourself with the heavier digging. (see photo right)
Step 3 – Lay weed control landscape fabric down over the soil. This is an important step so that worms cannot get up into the grit or lime screenings that you place between the bricks. If worms get in and begin to turn the matter over, the walkway will become filled with soil and mud. I used DuPont Premium WeedFree Landscape Fabric. (see photo to right)
Step 4 – Once the weed cover is on, place stepping stones and/or bricks in place. I chose Smart Stones from Greenland Gardener. They are 100% post-consumer recycled products, which are super-light at two pounds each, and are built to last through all sorts of outdoor conditions. After positioning the stones and bricks, fill in with lime screenings, grit, or pebbles being careful not to brush the fill material into the trench beside the walkway. (see photo to right and below)
Step 5 – You are now ready to start adding wine bottles. Place a two inch layer of sand in the trench where the wine bottles are going to go. Turn the wine bottles over and place them carefully side-by-side, using the sand as a stabilizer. Once you have a short row of wine bottles placed, add soil along the side of the wine bottles to hold in place. I used Organic Mechanics soil as I wanted to plant vegetables along the edge of the path and prefer the organic soil instead of “fill soil”. (see photo right and below)
My initial thought was to remove all the wine bottle labels, but it took forever to accomplish that task, so the bottles went into the ground with no prep. Wine bottles with smaller indentations in the bottom of the bottle will help preserve the bottle longer as water will not gather in the indentation. While it would be easy to have lined both sides of the path with wine bottles, I had an abundance of rock, so decided to mix the rock and wine bottles for a rustic effect.
Maintenance is simple – it includes sweeping and/or blowing off occasionally – ENJOY!
Oh – and Gary V – if you are listening, I want to work with you on a wine bottle recycling campaign. Have your people call my people. Okay, I do not have people, but I do have a passion to make a difference. Connect with me!
*Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am noting that Greenland Gardener sponsored the Smart Stones, DuPont sponsored the DuPont Premium WeedFree Landscape Fabric , and Organic Mechanics Soil sponsored the soil used for this project. However, I would use these products even if they had not been sponsored – I like the them.