By Ryan Richardson
Globe Staff Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Jared Carey is taking a different approach to recycling, one repurposed wine bottle at a time.
The Webb City resident has a day job, but he has turned a hobby into Castaway Bottles, a pursuit in which he takes discarded bottles and turns them into unique works of art.
“A few years ago I read an article on how to cut bottles in different ways, and I was hooked,” Carey said. “I’m a wine enthusiast, and I told myself, ‘I have to try this out.’”
Two years later, Carey has become known at craft shows and online for breathing new life into these bottles as vases, candle votives and glasses.
“I’m still learning as I go, but that’s part of the fun,” he said.
Carey has another purpose for his pursuit. He sees the environmental impact of glass as a big problem.
“Glass in landfills can take a million years to finally decompose fully,” he said. “Finding something to do with these bottles is a hobby for me, but it’s a bigger passion of keeping it (glass ) out of a landfill” that is the driving force.
“Why not do something like this to help out the environment?”
Carey makes use of everyday tools such as a glass cutter, a modified Lazy Susan and a propane torch to remove the tops of bottles. After popping the tops of the bottles off with the torch, he goes to work on grinding the surface down with sandpaper and diamond tools.
“The cool thing about this is that I’m actually expending less energy to do this than if someone just recycled the bottles,” he said. “Recycling is good, but repurposing is great, and plus they can look nice in homes.”
Since taking up the hobby, Carey has worked with a wide variety of bottles, most of which are donated by friends and customers.
“We get a wide variety of choices in, and it gives me a great opportunity to be creative,” he said. “You get some really cool looking wine bottles, and they will truly be a unique product once I’m done with them. They can be really versatile.”
Running the website castawaybottles.com, Carey has taken to guiding others who are interested in his hobby.
“I got into it and learned a lot from sites like YouTube and just reading as much as possible,” he said. “I like the education part and helping others take this up.
“That’s our whole goal is to try and stay local with the impact and sales, which has worked well for us. Our Etsy (an online marketplace for handmade items) and online sales are OK, but I like the idea of something that would have ended up in a local landfill has now ended up in a local home.”
In addition to his website and local craft shows, Jared Carey’s work is for sale at Ozark Hearth and Home in Carl Junction.