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In our increasingly disposable global economy, up-cycling products is a critical consideration for diverting waste from landfills and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While anecdotally successfully, up-cycling still needs rigorous analysis to determine it's potential for reducing waste and green house gas emissions. Pint glass replacements for a local restaurant in Arcata, California, United State of America were the basis of this analysis. In order to determine the foot print reduction of a novel pint glass up-cycling method, an analysis of newly manufactured pint glasses typically ordered by the restaurant was necessary.

The research project was a collaboration between Cal Poly Humboldt's Engr308 Technology and the Environment and Blondie's Food and Drink during the Fall of 2021.

The client liaison on this project is

  • Johanna Nagan of Blondie's Food & Drink

The objective of this project is to analyze and compare the impacts of Upcycled Pint Glasses (UPGs) versus new Libbey Pint Glasses (LPGs) in the terms of embedded carbon dioxide emissions and embedded energy, as well as as there per unit cost.

Findings[edit | edit source]

This study of UPG and LPG compared two main metrics: carbon dioxide emissions and embedded energy. It was concluded that the materials used, the transport of, and packaging of a single LPG required 1.89 kilowatt-hours of energy and is responsible for 1.20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The bulk of this associated with the Materials and Shipping components. In comparison, a single UPG is responsible for using 0.43 kilowatt-hours of energy and releasing 0.06 pounds of carbon dioxide, almost entirety as a result of the materials used during manufacturing.

The assumptions used to obtain these results can be seen below in further detail in the section titled Caveats.

Libbey Pint Glass (LPG) Upcycled Pint Glass (UPG)
Embedded Energy (kWh/glass) 1.89 0.43
Embedded Carbon Dioxide (lb CO₂/glass) 1.20 0.06

Based on the numbers shown above, we are able to conduct a comparative analysis showing the embedded energy and CO₂ between a single Libbey Pint Glass and a single Upcycled Pint Glass. The calculations and assumptions used to acquire these results can be seen in further detail in the following spreadsheet:

The spreadsheet allows for others interested in performing a similar analysis to easily input values pertaining to their particular study area. It is our hope that with this information and the assembled spreadsheet, other institutions will be able to reach similar compelling conclusions that have the potential to influence future policies.

Libbey Pint Glasses[edit | edit source]

New glass is made up of: Sand (silica), soda ash (Na2Co3), limestone (CaCO3) feldspar (aluminum silicates) and small amount of additives. These materials are mined and melted together to create glass. The acknowledgement of additives is made but not inputted in the data. For the sake of clean data, we assume the glass components as one solid source for embedded energy. The heat of fusion within glass is defined as the energy needed to transform particular amounts of a batches raw materials starting at room temperature to a kg of glass. It also should be noted Libbey's form of melting the material down is done in batches.[1][2][3][4]

Materials[edit | edit source]

Embedded Energy and CO2 Emissions of Libbey Pint Material
Materials Embedded Energy Embedded CO2 Embedded energy in kWh/LPG Embedded CO2 in kg CO2/LPG
Glass 2.17 kWh/kg glass 1.77 kg CO2e/Kg 0.915 kWh/LPG 0.747 kg CO2/LPG

The various stages of processing are listed below along with their associated energy cost in both imperial and metric units. Melting and refining is by far the most energy intensive aspect and should be the focus in terms of studying sustainable reductions.

Embedded Energy For All Glass Processing
Process Embedded Energy
Batch Preperation 500000 Btu/ton 146.5 kWh/Ton 0.15 kWh/kg
Melting / Refining 5800000 Btu/ton 1699.4 kWh/Ton 1.70 kWh/kg
Forming 400000 Btu/ton 117.2 kWh/Ton 0.12 kWh/kg
Forming Finishing 700000 Btu/ton 205.1 kWh/Ton 0.21 kWh/kg
Pint Glass Processing Subtotal 7400000 Btu/ton 2168.2 kWh/Ton 2.17 kWh/kg

Packing Materials

Libbey Pint Glasses are purchased in bulk by Blondie's from their website. Since Libbey used a standardized packing method information from their website can be used to calculated the per unit weight of packing materials so the embedded energy and carbon can be determined.[5][6][7][8][9]

Libbey Pint Glass Packaging
Materials Material used per box (unit/box) Material used per glass Embedded Energy (kWh/unit) Embedded Energy (kWh/LPG) Embedded CO2 (kg CO2/kg) Embedded CO2 (kg CO2/pint glass)
Cardboard box 1 box 0.0417 box/LPG 4.00 kWh/box 0.1667 0.94 0.004073
Tape 0.0006 kg/box 0.000025 kg/LPG 21.31 kWh/kg 0.0128 6.00 0.000000
Cardboard dividers 0.0672 kg/box 0.0028 kg/LPG 8.33 kWh/kg 0.0016 1.53 0.004284
Total kWh/pint glass 0.1810 Total lbs CO2/pint glass 0.008357
Cardboard box 0.104 kg
Box dimensions
Length 14.00 in
Width 10.50 in
Height 11.75 in
Libbey Pint Glass Dimensions
Circumference 3.50 in
Height 5.87 in

Up-cycled Pint Glasses[edit | edit source]

Embodied Energy (kWh) and Embodied CO2 (lb CO2) in the processing materials to up-cycle wine bottles into UPGs. Compared to LPGs, this a considerable reduction in both embedded energy and carbon, making UPG environmentally more sustainable.

Final Embedded Energy and CO2
Materials kWh/UPG lbCO2/UPG
Sandpaper 0.2469 0.0314
Saw Blade 0.1339 0.0023
Totals 0.3808 0.0336

Differences really show in the fact that the process of producing UPGs has to do with reusing wine bottles that already being used through the business. There is no shipping and handling to consider, at least for the actual production, like the LPGs. Not only shipping & handling but there is no need for packaging materials which once again lowers the embedded energy involved in production of UPGs.

Tools/ Materials Material Compenents Units Weight Units UPG/Material
Sandpaper Sandpaper Belt (4" x 24" 80 Grit Al₂O₃) Belt(s) 0.068 kg/Belt 8
Diamond Piranha Tile Saw Blade DP Blade HS-HT Steel Blade(s) 0.544 kg/Blade 6,789
Embedded Energy and CO₂
Tools/ Materials Embedded Energy Units Embedded CO2 Units Use Time per Bottle
Sandpaper Belts 29.0 kWh/kg 3.69 lbCO2/kg 12.5
Diamond Piranha Tile Saw Blade 1,670 kWh/kg 28.36 lbCO2/kg 0.583
Totals 13.1


Upcycled Pint Glasses - Processing Stage

Final Embedded Energy / Item 0.05 kWh / UPG
Final Embedded CO₂ / Item 0.02 lbCO₂ / UPG
Time / Item 13.1 minutes / UPG
Embedded Energy and CO₂ in Processing UPG
Energy User Time Power (kW) Embedded Energy lbCO₂/kWh Total lbCO₂/UPG
Tile Saw 0.58 min/bottle 1.08 0.011 kWh/UPG 0.524 0.006
Sander Tool 12.5 min/bottle 0.175 0.036 kWh/UPG 0.524 0.019
Totals 13.1 min/bottle 0.05 kWh/UPG 0.02
Bottle Cutting Average
Bottles Cut in a Session 12 bottles/session
7 minutes/session
Cutting Average 0.5833333333 minutes/bottle


Costs[edit | edit source]

Below are the comparisons of costs for a Libbey Pint Glass vs. the processing costs for an Upcycled Pint Glass, showing which is more affordable.

Costs LPG UPG Unit Cost Repeats
Saw Blade $0.00 $0.003 Amazon $19.99 blade 6,789 glasses
Sandpaper $0.00 $0.16 Amazon $12.66 6 pack 80 glasses
Cost of Glass
Pint Glass $0.94 $0.00 Libbey Pint Glass $25.49 case 24 glasses
Wine Bottle $0.00 $0.00
S&H $0.09 $0.00 Gas $4.99 gallon of gas 30 MPG 12 trips per year
Labor $0.00 $4.36 Labor $20.00 hour 4.6 glasses/hr
Electricity $0.00 $0.01 kWh cost x kWh/glass $0.14 kWh 0.05 kW/glass
Total Cost per Glass $1.03 $4.53

All processing costs considered, Libbey Pint glasses are $3.50 per glass cheaper than upcycled pint glasses. LPG cost $1.03 per glass as opposed to the UPG at $4.53 total cost per glass. Libbey Pint Glasses are the more affordable choice between the two. Labor is where the cost really makes the difference as LPG are manufactured, it was assumed there is no labor for individual glasses as opposed to the upcycled pint glasses where there is manual labor involved in the actual process of creation. The labor cost covers about 96% of the total cost for upcycled pint glasses compared to the 0% of labor cost for Libbey Pint Glasses.[20][21][22][23]

$1.03 Processing/Material Costs $0.00 Labor
$0.17 Processing/Material Costs $4.36 Labor

A case of 24 Libbey pint glasses costs a total of $25.49 cents making the cost per glass $1.03 including shipping and handling. If you were to match the number of glasses in a LPG case using the price of Upcycled Pint Glasses it would be around a total of $108.72 to create 24 UPG. It's $83.23 more expensive to make 24 upcycled pint glasses from wine bottles. The ratio of UPG to LPG is roughly 5 UPG: 24 LPG.[22]

Total Cost for LPG $1.03 $/LPG
Total Cost for UPG $4.53 $/UPG

Research Synthesis[edit | edit source]

Our findings indicate that, while switching from Libbey Pint Glasses to Upcycled Pint Glasses might save a significant amount of energy and CO2, labor costs make upcycling financially unsustainable. Continuous action to produce Upcycled Pint Glasses will lead to deficits where purchasing Libbey Pint Glasses will continue to be financially plausible. Although there is a motive behind upcycling wine bottles for sustainability of materials and reducing waste, through a business perspective it won't last long due to overwhelming costs.

Caveats[edit | edit source]

  • This was a rapid project. The results are very tentative and the spreadsheet is provided so that assertions, math, and assumptions can be checked, tested, or adapted.
  • Some costs were not taken into account when calculating the costs of upcycling pint glasses. This includes some of the equipment needed for upcycling (e.g. a wet saw and a belt sander)

Next Steps[edit | edit source]

After completing the initial analysis, there are various alterations to the methods that could be made to create even more accurate results. These include:

  • More consolidated research is needed when considering costs of upcycling pint glasses.
  • An exploration of methods to create upcycled pint glasses that have lower labor and material costs is needed.
  • Cost of washing wine bottles before upcycling them to pint glasses needs to be considered.
  • Extended research in the impact of switching to UPGs if it was hypothetically financially possible.

Teams[edit | edit source]

  • Libbey Pint Glass Materials: Maya, Jacob
  • Libbey Pint Glass Packing/Shipping Materials: Sara, Sydney, Christian
  • Libbey Shipping: Klara, Bryanna, Charles, Alexis
  • Upcycled Pint Glass Processing Materials: Rose, Jayna, Chloe
  • Upcycled Pint Glass Processing: Tati, Carson, David, Fiona
  • Costs: Kathy,Sophie, James

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.pnnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-13994.pdf
  2. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/old/5703.pdf
  3. https://jenike.com/case-studies/quality-improved-with-reduced-batch-segregation-at-libbey-glass/
  4. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/927883
  5. 5.0 5.1 https://stopplastics.ca/carbon-footprint-plastic
  6. 6.0 6.1 https://consumerecology.com/carbon-footprint-of-a-cardboard-box/
  7. 7.0 7.1 https://ecobox.co.za/blog/much-water-energy-ecobox-save/
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://www.designlife-cycle.com/duct-tape
  9. 9.0 9.1 https://bags.bg/En/Paper-and-cartboard#:~:text=Usually%2C%20cardboard%20is%20a%20paper,cardboard%2C%20foil%20or%20fabric%20weighs.
  10. https://electrogardentools.com/p/best-7-inch-wet-tile-saw-blade-buying-guide/
  11. https://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-110090-24-Inch-Aluminum-Sanding/dp/B0177C1IVS
  12. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-319-28346-3.pdf
  13. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/11/f4/theoretical_minimum_energies.pdf
  14. https://www.uvm.edu/~shali/Synthetic_Diamonds_Mined_Diamonds.pdf
  15. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244307511_Recovery_of_synthetic_diamonds_from_scrapped_sawblades
  16. https://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdfs/about/environment/calculator/assumptions.pdf
  17. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x7KlXLaMK4kXa-8gDAz4m8_EoLXG5xRxbNna3cYL0U8/edit?usp=sharing
  18. https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-9-Amp-Corded-7-in-Wet-Tile-Saw-with-Stand-R4031S/307346631?mtc=SEM-VF-F_D23-G-D23-023_014_FLOOR_TOOLS-Multi-NA-NA-DSA-2150536-WF-New_Engen_PL3&cm_mmc=SEM-VF-F_D23-G-D23-023_014_FLOOR_TOOLS-Multi-NA-NA-DSA-2150536-WF-New_Engen_PL3-71700000077168185-58700006540356275-39700059170875297&gclid=Cj0KCQiA47GNBhDrARIsAKfZ2rC4PYMz8RwV5DVx_foefd_FwXdpMcQDSDHQcTFmoG9N3HKffQr6PUgaAiZZEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
  19. https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-4000-2-Performance-Attachments-Accessories/dp/B002L3RUVG
  20. https://www.amazon.com/Benchmark-Abrasives-7-Inch-Continuous-Diamond/dp/B07VDGF86T/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=glass+cutting+blade+for+wet+saw+7%22&qid=1638929124&sr=8-9
  21. https://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-110090-24-Inch-Aluminum-Sanding/dp/B0177C1IVS
  22. 22.0 22.1 https://www.webstaurantstore.com/libbey-1639ht-restaurant-basics-16-oz-mixing-glass-case/5511639HT.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiA-qGNBhD3ARIsAO_o7ymdqjzmoEX_OKSeTDlF6k9gzIXDrYUfYeRwTIO3BZGRKh2IlXo7dCcaAveREALw_wcB
  23. https://www.autoblog.com/arcata-ca-gas-prices/
FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgPage data
Keywords carbon dioxide, emissions, energy
Authors James Von Tersch, Lonny Grafman, Jacob Rivas, Justin Hawkins
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 2 pages link here
Aliases Energy and carbon analysis of upcylced pint glasses
Impact 621 page views
Created December 9, 2021 by Lonny Grafman
Modified October 23, 2023 by StandardWikitext bot
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