Earlier this month at Designtide Tokyo, local studio Nendo debuted Bottleware: a collection of beautifully crafted dishware that gives new life to recycled glass Coca-Cola bottles. The green-tinted bottles were originally developed for a returnable program that washed and refilled customer’s empty containers. Looking for a way to upcycle “returnables” taken out of circulation, Coca-Cola partnered with Nendo studio, which is known for its ability to created refined objects rich with sentiment.
The collection of five dishware pieces starts with the bottom ring of the Coca-Cola bottle. Glass artists from the Aomori Prefecture of Japan work carefully to distort the bottle bottom into a dish shape while keeping the remnant’s notched markings. These divots were designed into the original bottle to help prevent slipping, and are highly recognizable. By leaving this detail, the bottle is reborn while preserving its original character.
The official Bottleware website explains that the bottles used for the dishware have been taken out of circulation because they have become flawed over the years. We suspect that they may also find a use for some of the smaller bottle sizes that have been phased out of the returnables program, such as the 6.5 oz bottles that ceased production in October.
It’s good to see Coca-Cola expanding the use of their glass products by turning bottles into serving dishes. This project elevates the role of upcycling by giving discarded (but still very functional) glass a new use. It is also interesting that the company is being proactive in realizing that their returnables program is no longer viable, and finding new ways to create value from waste.