A Beautiful Solution to a Growing Problem

Like so many people in the Lowcountry, the GlassEco team is very passionate about doing our part to protect our area’s beautiful land and waterways. We manufacture one-of-a-kind countertops and other hard surfaces using recycled glass that has been collected from Charleston metro businesses and residences. The inspiration for our unique product line was an answer to a growing problem in the recycling industry that we are all too aware of, but many people in the region simply are not. Our goal is to shed some light on this important topic.

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A simple Google search "is glass really recycled" yields article after article which highlights the issue…

While these articles aren’t South Carolina specific, our state is dealing with the same problems regarding glass recycling. In fact, much to the dismay of our friends in the Upstate, they are no longer able to recycle their household glass through the cities or counties because there are simply no longer any local materials recovery facilities (MRFs) that accept glass. We do know of one business that is collecting glass for both residential  and commercial in the Greenville area, RAM Recycling, LLC.

Are government officials and waste management companies just heartless? Do they not care about the environment? The hard fact is that recycling is a business, and this really all just comes down to money unfortunately. Consider this…

  • Glass is heavy which makes it costly to transport.

  • When paper, plastic and glass are all together in one bin, the glass tends to break which contaminates the other recyclables. It is very difficult and costly to sort them back into a reusable state.

  • Glass fragments can damage recycling equipment, so facilities have to be willing and able to invest in glass-separating technology.

  • If companies can’t process and sell glass profitably, they have no incentive to recycle it. 

As for those of us living in the Lowcountry, Charleston County states that they recycle your glass on their website. However, we are partial to our local sister company, Fisher Recycling. They offer recycling services for local offices, restaurants, hotels and some residential collection sites. We know first-hand that they take great care to pull out the glass so that it doesn’t end up in the landfill. Charlestonians go through a lot of glass as seen below, and we are thankful that we are able to re-purpose what Fisher Recycling collects through GlassEco Surfaces.

  Piles of glass at Fisher Recycling/GlassEco’s North Charleston facility that’s been diverted from landfills.

Piles of glass at Fisher Recycling/GlassEco’s North Charleston facility that’s been diverted from landfills.

While the glass recycling industry as a whole is full of serious challenges, we were encouraged at a recent conference to hear of new advances in the collection and processing of glass. There are development plans in the works for a state-of-the-art facility coming to Berkeley County that would handle all waste, except glass. Fisher Recycling is in discussions with them to manage all of the glass that comes out of the facility and recycle it properly.

Our view is that we may not be able to fix the inherent problems with glass recycling , but we can all strive to be a part of the solution…

  • Consider heading up a glass recycling effort in your neighborhood or at your office. We would love to answer questions and may be able to facilitate a collection site in your area based on demand.

  • Look for ways to re-purpose your own glass versus throwing it in the bin. We are in love with some of these ideas on Pinterest!

  • Support local businesses like GlassEco that are actively collecting used glass to manufacture beautiful products.

Recycled Glass Countertops

Learn More about Recycled Glass Products by GlassEco

Recycled glass countertops and other hard surfaces are great for residential and commercial spaces, and GlassEco manufactures options that are well-suited for interior and exterior use. The design possibilities are virtually limitless, and it all starts with creating a custom sample. Schedule a complimentary design consultation to learn more. 

 

Backsplash or No Backsplash?

Backsplash or no backsplash? That is the question! There are a lot of ways to approach countertop design; and we are, of course, partial to the recycled glass variety. While the chosen material makes a big impact on design, the direction to go with a backsplash is also a factor that gets a surprising amount of attention in talks about kitchen and bathroom trends. Among our clients, it’s about a 50/50 split between those opting for a backsplash or not. And when someone does choose to have a backsplash, the options are seemingly limitless.

By definition, a backsplash is a vertical extension to a counter (typically in a kitchen or bathroom) which protects the wall from unintended splashes of water. In a kitchen, it also helps protect the wall from splattered grease when cooking or food splatter during meal preparation. In the event that the walls aren’t completely square, backsplashes can also serve to mask imperfections. Despite its clear functionality, why do some people choose not to have a backsplash?

Opting for No Backsplash

Some people simply prefer the simple, clean look of having no backsplash. For those opting to go without, it is important to seal the edges of the countertop so that water, grease and food don't drip down the backside of the counters and cabinets. In addition, it is important to have a durable wall surface for the occasional splatter. A semi or high gloss paint that is washable (particularly behind the stove top) is recommended. With all of the beautiful colors found in our recycled glass countertops, featuring one of the colors on the wall could make quite a statement. In contrast, opting to go with a neutral wall color will allow our countertops to be the star of the show.

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So Many Backsplash Options

While there is something to be said for the minimalist approach, backsplashes are an obvious (and often affordable) way to play up a particular style in your kitchen or bathroom. We asked a couple of local Charleston designers to weigh in on their backsplash preference, and the consensus seems to be yes to a backsplash… but not a standard 4” one.

Heidi Huddleston of Delicious Kitchens & Interiors (deliciouskitchens.com) told us, “My preference is for a backsplash, but not a small 3-4" one made of the same material as the counter.  I like to incorporate a design element such as glass, tile, wood, stone or mirror. When using the same material as the counter, a full height backsplash can be a dramatic as it creates a cohesive band of color or pattern.”

Emily Cox of ECox Creative (ecoxcreative.com) says, “While a typical, run-of-the-mill 4" slab backsplash doesn't tend to thrill me, I recognize the importance of protecting vulnerable wall surfaces in areas where splashing is likely to occur. That's why I love to make a backsplash a feature rather than forgettable! I'm enjoying designing statement backsplashes that celebrate the slab material, with a larger scale and decorative curvature. Using a wall-mounted faucet to further highlight the material gets bonus points!” 

A quick Google or Pinterest search results in plenty of designers weighing in on the topic as well as a vast number of photos to inspire you. Here are some quick links to get you started…

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Complimentary Design Consultation

One of the things that we love so much about our recycled glass countertops is that the design possibilities are unlimited! Our unique product can be used for both a countertop and backsplash, combined with another backsplash material or can become a one of a kind backsplash paired with a different countertop material. GlassEco Surfaces can be completely customized to compliment your space or reflect your personal style. Contact us to schedule a complimentary design consultation.

Game-Changing Outdoor Kitchen Design on Daniel Island

When Daniel Island homeowner Tony Scruggs was planning his outdoor space, entertaining was a top priority…

I wanted the space to be a game changer… a party atmosphere that is vibrant, fun and makes you smile.
— Tony Scruggs, Homeowner

Tony’s backyard features an outdoor kitchen and an elevated pool with a negative edge overlooking Beresford Creek. With amenities like that, it’s no wonder that Tony enjoys spending as much time as possible outside, but he also found himself spending more and more time maintaining his outdoor space. His existing kitchen counters and cabinets were not built to withstand the elements, so Tony enlisted the help of Shoshanna Szuch, an organizational designer and owner of KitchensNClosets, to make some updates.  

Tony was able to help me understand the style and function that he envisioned for his space… Having known Elizabeth and Chris Fisher since the inception of Fisher Recycling and later GlassEco, I was sure that GlassEco would be the perfect solution. Tony did his due diligence researching recycled glass surfaces and agreed that working with GlassEco would provide the look he envisioned.
— Shoshanna Szuch, Organizational Designer

Countertops manufactured by GlassEco and installed by Universal Marble and Granite. Cabinetry sourced by KitchensNClosets.

I wanted new countertops that would be beautiful and low maintenance. I was considering granite, and Shoshanna recommended recycled glass… I had seen recycled glass surfaces before at a resort in Palm Springs and knew instantly that it was exactly what I wanted for myself.

Tony had stayed at the Laquinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California years before and had taken a liking to one of their poolside bars which was made with recycled Sky Vodka bottles. He was able to recreate a similar look with GlassEco by using a mixture of Skyy Vodka bottles, Saratoga bottles and oyster shells. All of the glass used in Tony’s countertops is recycled and locally sourced from Charleston area restaurants.

The design process may have been more involved than picking out granite, but Tony says he wouldn't have it any other way...

GlassEco countertops take longer than granite because they are custom made, but the finished product was worth the wait. I enjoyed picking out my own colors… It was fun to see everything come together, and everyone loves the fact that [my counters] are recycled.

Learn More about GlassEco Surfaces

GlassEco manufactures recycled glass countertops that can be customized to suit virtually any design aesthetic, and our surfaces can be used in a variety of interior and exterior applications (bars, table tops, pool surrounds, shower walls and more).  A visit to our North Charleston shop is the best way to fully explore design options. Once the design/manufacturing process is complete, the finished product can be delivered anywhere in the contiguous United States. Visit our gallery page to see more recycled glass surfaces, or contact us to schedule a complimentary design consultation.

A Bright & Beachy Isle of Palms Home with Contemporary Appeal

When supermom/style maven Hannah Webster designed the interior of her Isle of Palms home (That’s right! This busy Mom of two styled the whole thing with husband Aaron and no professional assistance.), she knew she wanted something bright, beachy, contemporary and full of character…

We really wanted a clean, coastal feel… so we went with a lot of white and explored subtle ways to add color and character.

Neutral colors, stainless appliances and brushed nickel hardware are used throughout the interior to create a modern feel. The home has everything you’d expect in a new construction, but the shiplap walls, industrial fixtures and unique finishes add some unexpected interest.

Surfaces manufactured by GlassEco and installed by World Granite, LLC

And as you can see, Hannah’s careful attention to finishes didn’t end with appliances, fixtures, doorknobs and cabinet pulls. The Websters were seeking some serious countertop eye candy for their kitchen, wet bar and bathrooms, and no ordinary surface would do…

We considered quartz but ultimately chose recycled glass countertops from GlassEco because it offered a more unique look and satisfied our desire to be eco-friendly. I was able to customize the look... We went with white base colors [like Eider White] and added oyster shells to create a coastal feel. We used shades of blue and green glass to balance the white cabinetry in one of our bathrooms and in the wet bar.

Quartz is an engineered stone, and it is rapidly gaining popularity among homeowners seeking a stylish alternative to granite. But which is better… quartz or recycled glass? We’re pretty partial to the sustainable and customizable nature of recycled glass surfaces, but preference is ultimately a matter of personal taste. Hannah’s countertops were installed in 2016, and she has yet to feel any buyer’s remorse. Two years in, it sounds like she’s still in love… 

We have been very pleased with [our GlassEco countertops]. I appreciate that they are handmade and contain natural variations… I think [these variations] are what make the countertops so special. They have unique character that can’t be reproduced.

Learn More about Recycled Glass Countertops

GlassEco manufactures recycled glass countertops that can be customized to suit virtually any design aesthetic, and our surfaces can be used in a variety of interior and exterior applications (bars, table tops, pool surrounds, shower walls and more).  A visit to our North Charleston shop is the best way to fully explore design options, but GlassEco Surfaces can be delivered anywhere in the contiguous United States. Visit our gallery page for more design inspiration, or contact us to schedule a complementary design consultation.

Coastal Kitchen by Charleston Crafted

When newlywed bloggers Morgan and Sean went shopping for their first house in 2016 they had DIY dreams of a completely custom (and very coastal) kitchen. The couple already had some home improvement experience (you can read all about Morgan’s condo transformation on the Charleston Crafted blog), but a kitchen would be their most ambitious project yet.  

Morgan and Sean settled on an adorable James Island home with good bones, lots of curb appeal and this kitchen…

Before images from CharlestonCrafted.com.

The good news is that the kitchen was completely functional. Morgan and Sean wanted to live in the space long enough to fully understand their needs and tweak their design plans accordingly…

“We were able to live with [the original kitchen] for 6 months, and I am glad that we waited,” says Morgan, creator of CharlestonCrafted.com. “Living with the kitchen for a while showed us where we were going to have problems, like needing a built-in trash can because of our naughty dog.”

That 6 month period also gave Morgan time to pick out the perfect finishes for her new coastal kitchen. Sea glass was Morgan’s primary design inspiration, and GlassEco countertops fit the bill…

“The starting point of our kitchen was honestly the countertops. Our dentist has [a reception desk by GlassEco], and I was obsessed… I had seen the oyster shell version [online] and thought that they were lovely and beachy. When I spotted them with blue and green glass, I knew that it was exactly the beachy look that I wanted in our kitchen. I did some research and determined that they were durable and sustainable and knew that they would be a great decision.”

Morgan met with GlassEco Owner and Design Consultant, Elizabeth Fisher to arrive at just the right mix of recycled glass and shells for Morgan’s custom countertops. Checkout Charleston Crafted’s countertop post for an in depth description of that process, and visit the GlassEco Process page to learn more about the design possibilities of recycled glass.

In addition to installing custom recycled glass countertops, Morgan and Sean scraped ceilings, removed wallpaper, took down a wall, painted cabinets, installed a tile back splash and renovated a pantry. You can get all of the kitchen renovation details in their Coastal Kitchen Reveal post.

Learn More about Recycled Glass Countertops

GlassEco manufactures recycled glass countertops for interior and exterior use. These surfaces can be customized to suit virtually any design aesthetic. A visit to our North Charleston shop is the best way to fully explore design options, but GlassEco Surfaces can be delivered anywhere in the contiguous United States. Visit our gallery page for more design inspiration, or contact us to schedule a complementary design consultation.

 

 

Sustainably Stylish & Uniquely Local

We often describe our recycled glass surfaces as Sustainably Stylish & Uniquely You. The sustainability factor speaks for itself, but the unparalleled versatility of recycled glass makes it particularly unique... Unique in that it is different from more traditional interior and exterior finishes, and unique in that it can be personalized in any number of ways. Personalization is extremely important to consumers who are customizing residential spaces, but public spaces can be surprisingly personal too.

In 2014, GlassEco teamed up with Lowcountry Local First (LLF), a Charleston-based nonprofit that advocates for local businesses and farmers, to help outfit their new coworking space, Local Works. When Local Works opened its doors at 1600 Meeting St., it wasn’t Charleston’s first or only coworking establishment, but it was one-of-a-kind in its commitment to locally-owned businesses… To utilize the Local Works space, business operations must be locally and independently owned (no national chains or satellite operations), so it was only natural that the Local Works space would be a uniquely local representation of its intended tenants.

When outfitting the Local Works space, LLF opted to use GlassEco countertops for the kitchenette area. The sink surround provides adequate space for meal prep and cleanup, while the peninsula style bar is perfect for coffee with coworkers or a working lunch…

“The fact that the product was locally made by people who are involved with our work was really important [to us],” says Jamee Haley, Executive Director of LLF. “…And then the ability to incorporate recycled glass from both Urban Electric and Rewined made it even more exciting.”

The Urban Electric Company and Rewined are both Charleston-based businesses and active members of Lowcountry Local First. Jamee was able to incorporate recycled glass from both—wine bottle remains from Rewined’s candle packaging and glass refuse from Urban Electric’s light fixture manufacturing process. These materials were mixed with other glass cullet options to compliment the Local Works color scheme. Hailey and the LLF team had already selected a color palette of greens and blues for the Local Works space, and with so many recycled glass options to choose from, picking colors from GlassEco’s selection was a simple process.  

A variety of other locally manufactured products were used to outfit the Local Works space, including community tables by Perrin Woodworking. These were made with reclaimed wood from the old Limehouse Produce warehouse, and they certainly add depth and warmth to the industrial interior (designed by David Thompson) and recycled glass surfaces… Don’t you think?

As of 2017, Local Works is a fully functioning office space and home to 45 local entrepreneurs. Visit LocalWorksCharleston.org to learn more about resident businesses, amenities and leasing options.

Learn More about Recycled Glass Countertops by GlassEco

Recycled glass countertops are great for commercial and residential spaces, and GlassEco manufactures options that are well-suited for interior and exterior use. Surfaces can be customized in any number of ways, just like the Local Works project… Own a brewery? Incorporate glass refuse from your bottling process or tasting room. Renovating your home kitchen? Incorporate shells from a recent family vacation or glass refuse from an important celebration. The design possibilities are virtually limitless, and it all starts with creating a custom sample. Schedule a complimentary design consultation to learn more.