You might be asking, who is Refresh Glass and why are we highlighting them. Well, what you may not know is that Refresh works in the background of hundreds of restaurants saving the world from glass waste, and up-cycling bottles into amazing products. We are very proud to talk to all of you about their program, and let you know that we are in awe of all that they have accomplished. This is why we are proud to partner with Refresh Glass!
They have quite the incredible story that started in one man's car trunk in 2008...
Ray DelMuro, the founder and owner of Refresh Glass, had been a manufacturing engineer for an aerospace company for 5 years before he resigned to go on a trip around the world. He left because he wanted to find a way to combine his passions for art, engineering, and helping the community. 21 countries and 39 cities later he was back in the states, within a year of returning back to the states Refresh Glass began in 2008 out of his garage.
The beverage industry is broken. The statistics about how much we throw away and bury is staggering. An average person throws away over 1,600 pounds of trash per year. Ugh, that's hard to hear right? Americans as a whole generate enough waste each year to circle the earth 24 times. 75% of all that trash is easily recyclable, but only 20% of it actually gets recycled. One rescued wine bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or a television for 20 minutes. These statistics are daunting, but there is hope.
So what is Refresh Glass? They are an organization that diverts thousands of wine bottles from the landfills every week with the help of local collection partners. We are happy to tell you that Spinato's just became one of those partners! What began as an effort to combine passions for art and engineering has turned into a community effort to support a great cause. The hope is that you can enjoy the glass function and aesthetic while taking pride in the part that you play; because they would re-purpose 0 bottles without you!
The Refresh truck, you might see rolling around the valley, is how all the empty bottles get to them. Ray started picking up
bottles in the back of his 4 Runner in 2008. After a few blown wheel
bearings and shocks they finally graduated to an official truck. They want you to notice them on the streets and think of the good cause that is happening in front of you, so they are toying with painting the wheels gold or get a set of spinners! You can be fashionable and sustainable.
Now, I'm sure you are wondering what happens to these bottles once they make it to Refresh. Welp, Refresh found that they save even more bottles by focusing on a real world problem of making it easy to order a high quality engraveable gifts for those relationships. People are looking for innovative solutions that solve their day to day challenges in a more conscious and stylish way that doesn't break the bank. They have chosen to embrace this gifting challenge that is a catalyst to continuing their mission.
So, once the bottle hits the deck, they send them directly through a bottle washer. At one point, ray used to do this by hand, which sounds miserable. Gotta appreciate this guy's drive! Once the bottles are clean, they have to take the labels off one at a time. This is part of what really separates them! Most bottle gifting companies selling wine bottle products are buying brand new bottles and hiding behind deceptive words like repurposed or up-cycled on their labels and in their marketing. It takes a lot of extra time and effort to collect, rinse, and de-label diverted bottles. For Refresh, it's the difference between a commodity and a piece of art. There is something about the process, the story, and the mission behind it all.
What next? Only the coolest part, cutting the bottles and melting the rims. They run the bottles through a conveyor that breaks the bottle in half. Ray actually used to do this with a handheld bottle breaker one at a time. Woof! After that they are led to a series of elevated bunsen burners where they melt the rims of the glassware to a temperature of about 1500 degrees F. The rounded edge glows an and looks a vibrant orange color, similar to the center of a campfire, for a few seconds after being removed from the torch flames. The final process before they are washed and sent to out is a stress relieving oven bake. Then the products are cleaned, and often engraved.
Raise your hand if you can hear clinking and glass breaking when your bins get picked up. We know that bin came from your place!
The current Refresh goal? A 10 Million Bottle Rescue Mission.
Recently Refresh was honored as Arizona's recycling small business of the year (awarded by the Arizona Recycling Coalition).
Refresh is also a Certified Green Business! Amazing right? They were presented with this certificate as one of Arizona's first Green certified businesses at an award ceremony in February 2020. They worked with third party of sustainability auditors to satisfy their various criteria categories for green business operations. They were also the showcase give away product at the EPA's first Recycling Innovation Fair in Washington DC, Nov. 2019.
This was all so incredibly impressive that it was a no brainier for Spinato's to partner with Refresh and help Ray achieve his goal for the good of our community as a whole.