Thursday, 23 July 2020


The light up gate made using 'waste' glass bottles
Here on Diani Beach, because we are an award winning holiday destination, it goes without saying that a LOT of empty wines and spirits bottles are produced by the hotels, bars and private homes.

What is interesting however is that it seems that not too many people understand the value of these empty bottles. Where do they all go? Most people may drop them at the recycling drop off points  in Ukunda or down the Diani Beach road or sell them for very low prices to recycle collectors from Mombasa. At least if you are one of the people responsible enough to be doing this you are far ahead of many who just dump it.

In this post we will explain the ways we at The Sands have found to utilise the glass bottles produced from Diani's busiest restaurant, and by doing so, lower expenses.
Glass bottle stockpiling for later use
Building blocks

Imagine that currently one can buy a grinder cut corral block for building at around 22 Kenya Shillings.. did you know that you can use around 6 glass wine or spirit bottles to fill the same space as a brick? So if you were building a wall that needed 1000 bricks that is 22,000 shillings plus cement and labor.  If you had collected or stockpiled 6000 glass bottles your only expense will be the cement and the labor. Recently The Sands at Nomad has donated three years worth of glass bottles to a new sustainability business starting up nearby. The business intended to use the bottles as building blocks as well as an artistic awareness piece as, due to the different coloured glass bottles, the walls can be beautiful as well as functional.

The sound proofing wall around the generator house at The Sands at Nomad
Up-cycled into drinking glasses

The Sands has, as part of the sustainability department, a room housing glass cutting and polishing machines. Any glass bottles with unique sizes, shapes or colours are stored and 'up-cycled' into all shapes and sizes of drinking glasses, flower vases and sauce pots for The Nomad beach bar, The Sands at Nomad and The Sands at Chale Island hotels.

You imagine how much it costs to replace broken drinking glasses in a hotel and restaurant each year? Costs like this are minimised through sustainable practice and 'circular economies'.

Cut glass bottles waiting to be polished
Borders for 'raised planting beds' on a farm

Some farms, especially around this coastal area, have very shallow topsoil sitting on corral rock. Due to this having a productive farm in these conditions can be challenging as there is little space for roots to grow. On the Sands at Nomad's farm we have used thousands of glass bottles to raise the level of the topsoil to allow for more root space.
Using glass bottles to make raised beds on shallow soil
Recycled art

Walking around The Sands boutique hotel one would notice some of the recycled or 'up-cycled' art pieces that have been made using glass bottles from the restaurant 'waste'. Glass art like this has huge potential in areas where there is a lot of this 'FREE recyclable raw material' available. Free material for creative people to use and maybe even make some money from selling.

Ballast for mixing into cement

Glass is actually made from quartz sand, the same kind of sand that is used in the mixing of cement.

If you have any broken glass, like many of these hotels and restaurants do naturally, know that you can take the broken glass, put it into a metal drum and SAFELY crush it into glass 'sand' (quartz sand) which can then be used to supplement and lower the cost of having to buy building sand.. and it safely removed broken glass from the system and landfills and children and animals feet.

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