How can I reuse or recycle … narrow-necked glass bottles?

Beer bottleSince jars and the like are kept out for reuse, our glass recycling bin is mostly filled with narrow-necked bottles: olive oil bottles, balsamic vinegar ones, organic squash bottles and if any wine or bottled beer drinkers have been around, those bottles too.

They don’t seem as easily reuseable as wide necked jars or bottles, and the oil ones are a pain to clean out thoroughly (or they are for me at least) – some of them have those “easy pour” tops in which make it even harder. But still, I’m reluctant to recycle them – mostly because there isn’t doorstep recycling for glass around here and it’s a chore to take them to the glass banks at the tip.

So any ideas to save me that tip-trip?

(Photo by levi_sz, c/o

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46 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … narrow-necked glass bottles?”

  1. dave says:

    Use them on the end of the canes in your garden. They can be used to support netting for climbing plants to grow up, or protective netting to keep the birds off your crops.

  2. andrew says:

    if you have a dark pebbled water feature you can smash the glass using a tower and hammer and sprinkle the shards of glass on the feature. the glass will make the water glisten even more.

  3. bev says:

    Someone I used to know used to use old Newcastle Brown bottles as plant pots – he would tip some soil in until it was nearly full, then put a sunflower or similar single stem flower seed in the soil and then top it up with a bit more soil. He said they were a pain to water once the stem grew out the top but they certainly were eye catching in his garden.

  4. Veselina says:

    you can cover old bottles with paper pulp, made out of old coloured paper and glue. Leave it to dry and then varnish it with strong varnish.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I’m going to smash my wine bottles and make beach glass with a rock tumbler. But I am looking for ideas about building decorative walls with cement and wine bottles…anyone know a link?

    • Katz says:

      Hi Elizabeth
      I don’t know any links, but I remember seeing once a garden wall (or a house wall, not sure now) with embedded in cement bottle bottoms. It looked funky. you can get a bottle cutter for this project (they sell them in States, but I don’t know where to get one in UK – if you find one, pls let me know)

    • Yashoda says:

      I’ve seen a wall made of broken slabs interspersed with whole glass bottles. The whole lot was cemented together with the bottom of the bottles facing forwards and the necks poking out the back – a great home for mini-beasts who scoot out and gobble up the insects that eat your plants! (No need to cut the bottles)The wall was topped with troughs filled with trailing plants and the effect was lovely with the glass glinting through. I’m going to start making one, as I get more bottles and locate more free broken slabs I shall make a nice feature down the bottom of my garden in front of a tall hedge, the lower half of which is scruffy. Does anyone know where broken paving can be got in Kent?

    • reverenddave says:


      heres a flickr link

      as far as i know they simply used lime mortar to keep the bottles together

    • Karen says:

      Can you tell me what type of rock tumbler to use for glass?

    • GroovyBree says:

      I don’t know links but if you google “reuse glass bottles crafts” you’ll find what you’re looking for. I do know the gyst, though. You can cut the bottles or leave them whole. You will stack bottles and mortar them the same way you would with bricks. I’ve seen some really cute ones done as part of a bar, it makes a great focal point.

  6. Caz says:

    You could use this method to cut the glass.

    I’m not sure how well it works, but it looks interesting!

  7. Amber says:

    Here’s a link that tells how to make them into neat things like lamps and incense burners:

  8. Tony says:

    I came across recycled glass beer/wine bottles which had been reformed into goblets/beer glasses/tumblers. It’s a company in Cornwall called Greenglass with a environmentally aware philosophy. Visit their site for more info – particularly if you generate large numbers of bottles of similar shape [eg clubs/bars/student unions] which are not recovered by the supplier.

  9. Matthew Losee says:

    I brew beer, so I have a supply of about 300 bottles, all of which would have ended up in the landfill. I believe each of these 300 bottles has been used about 3 times for bottling my beer.

    The equipment for brewing beer costs about $70, and a batch of 50 beers generally costs $25-35. Homebrew saves bottles and is always tastier than store-bought (unless your paying $8 for a 6-pack). It also a great way to spend time with those you love, and a great way to treat guests who are unwittingly assisting in your recycling master scheme!

    Because they are always laying around, I’m not a worry wort over germs, and I pretty much only drink water and beer, they are the only “cups” I use. If you fill 1/4 of the bottle with water, cover the top, and shake (then repeat once more) immediately after pouring or drinking the beer, you should have a good clean bottle. My bottles don’t get washed when I reuse them for water. But do get soaked in no-rinse sanitizer before storing beer.

  10. haylie d. says:

    Me and hilary took your suggetsgens and tottaly saved a lot of money. Now we still have some left over 4 shopping at Beverly Hills sqaure!

  11. Grace says:

    You could put a strand of white christmas lights in a wine bottle and make a hole in side so it can be plugged in. The greenish tint of the bottles makes this very pretty.

    • Babylon says:

      Ooh, or you could get one of those little LED sets with a small battery pack. As a matter of fact, I think that might be a good way to make a couple of cheap night-lights for my son.

      Thanks for the idea!

  12. Bad Monkey says:

    An obvious one is to use them as candle holders, like they do in restaurants.

  13. PainChaud says:

    You can grow garlic in it..just for fun or as an experiment. Just put a clove in the neck, big enuf so it doesn’t fall into the bottle and fill it up with water. In just a few days it will root like crazy and start growing leaves =)

    • Anonymous says:

      i’ll try that I am a garlic nut, was raised on garlic
      can u imagine a row of beerbottles on the kitchen counter and growing garlic out of it

  14. Johnnyboy says:

    I make Cider and Cider Vinegar which I bottle in recycled Champagne bottles, these are first washed in detergent and warm water followed by by bottle brushing and finally soaking in Milton.
    Getting suitable vinegar bottles is a problem as i can’t get a regular free supply, perhaps I could help you with your problem, or anyone else out there who has lots of these type of bottles to dispose of.

  15. Rob says:

    I got a bottle cutting kit from Creative Glass guild in Bristol. works really well, you do get some breakages, but that’s just part of the process, and you get to drink more wine to keep your cutting stock levels up! Fine by me! I have made some candle holders with the bottles, when they’re chopped, stick pieces of coloured glass on with clear glue or silicon, pop a t light inside and the glass will glow (the depth of the bottle keeps the wind off too so they can be used outside).

    Have a go!

  16. Rob says:

    meant to say what the link was for the bottle cutting tool! here it is:

  17. Catherine says:

    I reuse all wine/beer/oil glass bottles to store my rice and grains and it works wonderfully. Things don’t lie forgotten at the back of a cupboard while I go out and buy more of the same, and the bottles (cleaned up, labels removed, tags attached with ribbon to remind me what’s inside) look rather striking. With just a bit of elbow grease it is possible to clean and remove labels from almost any bottle- only one has defeated me so far!

    • aischa says:

      that’s great too, that keeps the critter out in summer
      to remove labels, I use water first and then nail polish remover, some of the clear labels need to be removed with a knife

      • soladragon says:

        Hi there is a much easyer way, poor hot water inside the bottle, it heats up the glue and the label just falls off.

        Also works on anything such as cans and that.

  18. connor says:

    you can use it as a candle holder

  19. Docheo says:

    Youi can use it to grow small plants like Bonsai.

  20. elox1995 says:

    put drink in it to drink

  21. yoshifan55 says:

    smash it and use it as a weapon

  22. sash.. says:

    best to be used as weapon

  23. caroline says:

    I fill beer bottles with diluted liquid castile soap and put a liquor pouring caps on them to dispense the soap.

  24. Saskia says:

    Catherine’s idea reminded me that I actually have done that in the past – I still use an old Jack Daniel’s bottle to store green lentils in! Bottles that have stored spirits are particularly useful as they are naturally more sterile than those which have stored perishable drinks like juice (so don’t require such thorough washing up), they generally have proper re-usable lids (as opposed to beer caps), and are often quite nicely designed. The only reason I don’t bother any more is that I have more than enough reusable containers now, plus I don’t own a funnel so it’s a faff to fill the bottles (I use a rolled up bit of paper to fill the lentil bottle, which is fine for occasional use but not as easy as an actual funnel).

  25. Jenn says:

    I use wine bottles in my bathroom to hold my toilet paper. My guests love it.

  26. Shorty says:

    In my home country, there is a place that you can go and bring your wine bottles, they cut them and sand them into glasses. There is also a jam making brand called Gloria that sells jam in a jar that when it’s done, you clean it out and remove the top (not a screw-top) it’s a glass. It’s funny how everyone has a set of these malt-style glasses. I also know someone who puts green bottles on her window sill, and when the light hits them, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

  27. Sandy says:

    Narrow neck bottles make perfect vases for 1 long stem rose. Glue a small salad plate or small bowl to the top of the neck. Put a tea light on top of plate and cover tea light with glass chimney. Now you have a unique candle holder.

  28. Helen says:

    I’ve recently come across a company in North Devon that transform used beer, wine and water bottles into funky drinking glasses. I was so impressed i visited the company whilst on holiday and they let me watch how they are made, it was amazing. Check out there products on

  29. Meg says:

    You can make a shelf or a coffee table with some bottles, boards and hook-and-eye strainers: Have a look at the flickr gallery for alternative designs!

    I haven’t tried it myself but I like the look and it’s really flexible (and handy when you move).

  30. Rosina Federline says:

    I am looking for a place to recycle all my sons steel beer bottle caps that is in Maryland

  31. Christine Hanoi says:

    I visited a film maker’s home in El Salvador who had a patio with bottle bottoms (blue and green) embedded in the cement. It was beautiful. His name is Alejandro Cotto….maybe you can look it up. I have a picture I tool somewhere, but not sure where it is at the moment.


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