glass water bottle

BottlesUp Featured in New “Discover Design” at 2011 International Home + Housewares Show

This year at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, we’ll be one of 50 companies invited in to the special “Discover Design” section. This invitation-only area will be the section retailers have been asking for – a section dedicated to highly-styled products that will generate interest and excitement with their customers. We’ll be debuting our beautiful glass water bottles, made using ancient techniques in a modern glass-making facility. Our bottles, made up of a minimum of 75% recycled glass and food-grade silicone caps and ‘grippers’, highlight the beauty of glass. Our responsible design (created by a nationally-acclaimed glass artist), sourcing (100% sourced and made in North America) and packaging deliver a product that looks good, feels good and does good. Glass is naturally BPA-free and PVC-free, it won’t leach harmful chemicals, it leaves no residual odor or taste.  The bottle is designed to fit the natural grasp of the hand and has a wide mouth with a rounded lip.  Adding to that, we don’t use any plastics in our bottle or in our packaging – none, nada, zilch. By using glass instead of plastic, the use of one BottlesUp glass water bottle can keep 240 plastic bottles out of landfills every year.  Wouldn’t you agree the combination of beauty, functionality, and responsibility is one you’d like to see?

If you’re heading to the IHA show in Chicago, come by Booth #3971.  Come see the true beauty of glass in a better, more responsible bottle.

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Why Does Glass Sparkle?

In some form or shape, we get the question of what makes glass sparkle a lot. The sparkle, or refractory quality, of glass has to do with two elements: the chemical nature of the glass and the design of the glass itself.

The Chemistry of “Sparkle”

Let’s start by sharing that in glass, there is this thing called the “refractive index.” Glass that seems to glitter against the light is most often due to the inclusion of lead oxide – commonly called lead – which makes it the most refractive on our index.  Back in the day (say, the 17th century), the word “crystal glass” was used to describe a decorative glass that was cut to brilliance and used in fine objects like tableware, chandaliers and other decorative home elements.  (Crystal is from the artists of Venice who used the Italian word “cristallo. Technically glass isn’t crystal because it doesn’t have the required crystaline structure. But no one checks the science, so we still use the phrase “crystal glass.”)  On the opposite end of the index, you have clear, manufactured glass (think of the vase your Valentine’s Day flowers come in) which has been stripped of all the iron, lead, and other impurities naturally found in glass. It has a lower refractive quality, that is to say it doesn’t sparkle quite like the Waterford vase from your grandmother. 

The base ingredient in glass is sand and that plays a big role in sand’s final quality and color. If we were to take sand from the beach and use it in our glass recipe, we’d end up with glass slightly tinted green or blue because of the chemical components of the sand on the beach.  Here in the U.S. most of the sand used in glass production is harvested from Mississippi, Pennsylvania or West Virginia.  All three states offer great quality sand with fewer impurities, which makes a great base for any glass production.

But, believe it or not, impurities actually can help raise glass’ natural tendency to sparkle. So yes, you want your to be a little bit “dirty” if you want it to sparkle.

The Design of “Sparkle”

While the Venetian glass artists were off about calling glass “crystal” they knew more than a few things about design.  By blowing, etching, cutting, and designing the glass in certain ways, they enhanced glass’ natural tendency to sparkle.  By adding in beautiful cut-in designs to tableware, or creating uniform glass pieces designed to catch light in a chandelier, they were using their skills to increase the light captured and refracted back to your admiring eyes.  With stained glass or other glass elements in windows or doors, much is made in how the external light will hit the design during the day, as well as during the year. (Remember, our axis shifts, so light at mid-morning is different in winter than it is in summer.) This design-sense is why people who work with glass are truly artists.

At BottlesUp, we use both chemistry and design to amp up the sparkle factor in our glass water bottles.  Recyled glass has more of the natural chemical compounds found in glass, like iron, that keep it from being too stripped and therefore lower on the refractory index. Our bottles aren’t manufactured either, their created by skilled artisans using ancient techniquest in a modern facility. To enhance this natural beauty, we designed a slight “hammered” effect into the glass to catch the light and help it gleam. Here’s the great part: with a BottlesUp glass water bottle you get a functional water bottle that’s good for your health and the environment, you get a sparkly, beautiful object.

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BPA-Free for Your Health

Levels of BPA found in the human body according to The Environmental Working Group.

Back in the 1950s, we all thought plastics were going to be the “it” material of the future. Without regard for health or environment, we went full throttle ahead and plastic became a way of our everyday lives. But some progress comes at a cost.

Bisphenol A, commonly called BPA, is a controversial manufactured chemical found in the lining of food cans, certain plastic water bottles and other plastic containers. Researchers have linked the hormone-mimicking chemical (it mimics estrogen) to a host of health issues for adults, children and babies. Among the potential links – behavioral and developments effects, especially in growing babies and kids. The smart folks over at Consumer Reports just this past winter called into question the safety of BPA in any food or beverage container.

While more than 8 billion tons of BPA are produced a year, we’re one company committed to being BPA-free. All of our bottles, accessories and packaging are BPA-free and because we’re committed to health and environment, our bottles, accessories and packaging are 100% free of any plastics. Our bottles are made from recycled glass and our grippers and caps are made from 100% food-grade silicone. Rest assured, with BottlesUp, you’re getting a product designed with better health in mind.

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The (Not So) Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Have you heard about it – the large patch of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s there, it’s real and what you may not know is that it’s not made up of plastic bags and empty bottles. It’s made up of billions of tiny pieces of plastic, and it’s basically invisible unless you’re floating in it. While this might seem better to be in tiny pieces, it’s actually much worse for the environment—and for you. The great team at GOOD, develop this Transparency – a look at the Pacific Gyre and the plastic floating in it.

Gyre illustration by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson

What do you think? How can we help minimize plastic in our oceans?

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