We all want to make sure that we have useful skills. Skills that can come in handy when we need them, the kind of skills that are essential for everyday life.
That is why it is important, particularly in the light of the effect of Climate Change, that we all understand how to properly reuse material that we have lying around.
This doesn’t just mean taking things to a recycling depot or waiting for them to be picked up. Rather, it means using skills to ensure that we can remake things in a way that we find useful. One of the things that is ripe for reuse is glass.
Yet, we often consider glass to be too fragile to be properly reused so simply throw it in the trash or take it to a recycling center.
This doesn’t have to be the case however. Glass can be used in many ways and it can easily and quickly be reused.
You may have many questions such as – why would you want to reuse glass? How can glass be reused? How to cut glass safely and effectively? These questions and more will be answered in this article.
Why Would You Want To Reuse Glass?
The first question you might be asking is – why would you want to reuse glass in the first place? There are a couple of different reasons that it is better to reuse and remake glass rather than simply throwing it away.
Firstly, glass can have a damaging effect on the environment if not properly disposed of.
Simply put broken glass in landfills can easily get into the soil making it difficult to grow things in future, it can cut and wound animals that come in contact with broken pieces of glass, and if it is swallowed by an animal (as sometimes happens) it can severely hurt or even kill them.
This is why glass not properly recycled can have a bad effect on the environment. Even if you’re lucky enough to live in an area that recycles glass through your regular trash pickup service, it can still have a negative effect on the environment.
While melting the glass down for recycling is better than it laying in a landfill for decades, there is still a lot of energy that is needed to be used for the process to make the glass usable again.
That’s why it is better for the environment that you know how to reuse your glass yourself. It means that you won’t be relying on recycling companies generating power that in of itself needs electricity which will often be from non-renewable sources.
How Can Glass Be Reused?
Now that we’ve examined why you might want to reuse glass, let’s address how glass can be reused.
Glass can be reused in a variety of different ways. If you have an old glass window that has been broken, then you could clean the glass and potentially reuse it for the top of a coffee table.
If you have glass bottles lying around, then you can reuse the glass from them to make a variety of different objects.
You never know when your reused glass can come in handy so it is always wise to be able to learn the skill of how to cut glass and reuse it effectively.
How To Cut Glass
Now let’s turn to how to cut glass. Cutting glass might seem like an overly complex and stressful business, however this isn’t the case. Once you know exactly how to cut glass then you will be certain to keep it as an invaluable skill in your tool belt.
The first thing to focus on is the type of glass you are cutting. Cutting a pane of glass, for example, is slightly different in method than cutting a glass bottle. We’ll examine both methods however because you may need to cut glass from both of them at some point.
How To Cut Glass 1) – A Glass Bottle
When preparing to cut a glass bottle, you must make sure that the label on the bottle has been taken off. This isn’t simply a process of ripping the label off because parts of it might still stick to the glass afterwards.
The best way to remove a bottle’s label is to either put in some boiling water for ten minutes and then gently scrape it off or to use an olive oil and baking soda paste.
By combing the olive oil and the baking soda you will be able to create an effective and easy to use paste. Simply put the paste on to the label, leave the paste for ten minutes and then gently rub the label off.
The reason that it is important to take the label off the glass bottle is because if you leave it on, then you might end up with glass that isn’t reusable since parts of the label might interfere with the process of cutting the glass.
Once the label is off you can begin the process of cutting the bottle. Make sure that you have a glass cutter and some masking tape ready as they will be crucial in the cutting process.
Begin by placing some masking tape on the section of the bottle you want to cut. Make sure it is neat and straight as this will mean when you cut the glass it will be neat and straight also.
Once you have applied the masking tape, begin by creating a line with your glass cutter along the outside edge of the masking tape. This will gently make the glass much more malleable.
One technique you can use after that is to simply turn hot and cold water on it at intervals until you hear the glass bottle cracking and popping, at which point it will neatly break down.
The alternative method is to use the glass cutter to gently keep cutting the glass bottle until it naturally separates.
Whichever method you decide to use, it is important to note that cutting a glass bottle is different from cutting a pane of glass because of the shape of the bottle.
As the bottle is shaped like a cylinder it will mean you will have to do more in terms of preparation – such as getting the label off and making sure that the cut you are making out of the bottle follows the shape of it.
How To Cut Glass 2) – A Pane Of Glass
Cutting a pane of glass is of course different to cutting a bottle, not simply because of the shape, but also because panes of glass are much easier to cut as the were designed to be cut – whereas a bottle of course was not!
Firstly, make sure the glass is clean as if it isn’t then this could damage how easily you can cut the glass and also potentially hurt you if it means that you have lined up the line of the area you want to cut incorrectly.
One you have cleaned it, get some olive oil and a glass cutter.
Put your cutter into some olive oil and then mark where you want to cut. This will give you an idea of the size of the glass you want to cut out and where you want to cut it.
Once the olive oil is on the pane of glass, slowly and delicately run the cutter along the pane of glass. This will slowly break down the components that make up the glass and make it weaker and much more malleable.
You must make sure that you cut the glass along the line that you’ve drawn out and make sure that it’s straight. This will mean it will not only make the glass easier to use but much safer when it is in pieces.
Don’t worry if you miss a part and don’t attempt to go over the line again. If you go over the line multiple times, then this can cause it to break into much smaller shards of glass which could be dangerous.
One you’ve done that, very gently apply pressure to the glass and it will neatly and cleanly break into the section that you wanted to cut and the rest of it.
Why Cutting Glass Is Important
You might wonder why cutting glass is important. It isn’t simply for the environmental reasons that were listed at the start of this piece but also because it keeps a dying tradition going.
While it might be easy to simply rely on machines, relying on them means that we become less independent, less able to do the kind of things that our ancestors once did.
It’s why you can and should learn how to cut glass. Because it ensures that there is a tradition alive that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren, one which will surely become useful to them as it is to those before us.