There's no longer a need to haunt Ebay for Ron Popeil's Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter kit from the 70's--Ray Delmuro's got it figured out.
Three years ago, the owner and creator of Refresh Glass perfected a way to produce sturdy, dishwasher-safe drinking glasses from discarded wine bottles. He admits he's a little Willy Wonka about the process, merely sharing that after he acquired a bottle-cutting kit (unfortunately, a modern version of Ronco's) that took hours to complete, his engineering background kicked in, and he knew there had to be a timelier, more efficient manner.
The company has since saved more than 100,000 bottles from landfill eternity--and expanded production space from Delmuro's garage to a 5,500-square-foot shop. They repurpose around 2,000 bottles a week, pulling all of their bottles from Arizona businesses and wineries such as Dos Cabezas and Pillsbury Wine.
The glasses come in different heights and multiple shades. They are sold at local establishments like Practical Art and the Phoenix Public Market, but you can also find them at Whole Foods, which sells them in multi-packs. An increasing number of hotels and restaurants -- including Pizzeria Bianco and the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch -- are picking up the cups, as well, to use for serving. Hudson Baylor recycles the top halves of the bottles, and extra glassware is often donated to local charities. "We love the glasses we got from them," says Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas, who sells them in his tasting room. "They fly off the shelf."
Refresh Glass has already started obtaining a national clientele. "The majority of what we make is sent out of state," Delmuro says, since his creations can also be ordered online. "I want to get up to about 1,000,000 bottles a year."
To purchase Refresh Glass products, visit their website or Practical Art at 5070 N. Central Avenue and The Phoenix Public Market at 14 E. Pierce Street; both in Phoenix. Check them out on Facebook, too.