Leaving a trace: Bottle-Up tackles waste through craft in Zanzibar

The design initiative Bottle-Up made its debut during the current Dutch Design Week, presenting a new perspective on glass design. The project was initiated by Hubert and Elisabeth van Doorne, with the double goal of increasing sensibility on the waste situation in Zanzibar and offering a solution for recycling to the local population.

Bottle-Up presenting new perspectives on glass design
The design initiative Bottle-Up made its debut during the current Dutch Design Week, presenting new perspectives on glass design
(Image credit: press)

Bottle-Up (opens in new tab) made its debut during the current Dutch Design Week (opens in new tab), presenting a new perspective on glass design. The project was initiated by Hubert and Elisabeth van Doorne, with the dual goal of increasing awareness of Zanzibar's acute waste problems and offering a recycling solution to the local population.

The tropical East African island is widely regarded as a tourist paradise, and most of its glass waste comes from visitors (beach drinking is a common tourist experience here, explain the van Doornes). The country is not equipped to recycle it, which in the past years has led to an increase of glass detritus abandoned across the island.

Six young Dutch designers visited the island to take part in the initiative last month, presenting the initial glass experiments in Eindhoven this week. Os ∆ (opens in new tab)Oos (opens in new tab)'s Sophie Mensen and Oskar Peet, Klaas Kuiken (opens in new tab), Stonecycling (opens in new tab)’s Tom Van Soest and Ward Massa, and Pim van Baarsen and Luc van Hoeckel from Superlocal (opens in new tab) traveled to Zanzibar and collaborated on designing objects that could give new life to the waste material, thus helping solve the waste problem. The group explored manufacturing techniques in collaboration with local craftsmen and the objects, from lights to table top items to drinking vessels,  will be sold to tourists throughout the island. Production of the pieces will begin in the coming months, in a purpose-built factory employing local people. Future steps will include re-investing profits in initiatives that will further help process the waste material. 

Paper view of Dutch designers experiments in glass

The initiative brought six young Dutch designers to Zanzibar – their initial experiments in glass were presented in Eindhoven this week

(Image credit: press)

Recycled glassware

The project was initiated by Hubert and Elisabeth van Doorne, with the dual goal of increasing awareness of Zanzibar's acute waste problems and offering a recycling solution to the local population. 

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

Glass waste abandoned across the island

The tropical East African island is widely regarded as a tourist paradise, and most of its glass waste comes from visitors. The country is not equipped to recycle it, which in the past years has led to an increase of glass waste abandoned across the island

(Image credit: press)

A terrazzo experiment with blue glass

The group explored production techniques in collaboration with local craftsmen and the objects – ranging from lights to table top items to drinking vessels – will be sold to tourists throughout the island. 

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

A terrazzo experiment with blue glass and a set of nesting candle-holders

Pictured left: a terrazzo experiment with blue glass. Right: a set of nesting candle-holders. 

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

View of the candle holder

Various glass techniques were explored by the group, who collaborated on each piece produced. Pictured: another view of the candle holder.

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

A collection of glass hanging lights

A collection of glass hanging lights.

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

The Bottle Up production process

Production of the pieces will start in the coming months, in a purpose-built factory employing locals. A further step will include re-investing future profits in initiatives that will help process the waste material.

(Image credit: Jeroen van der Wielen)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.