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Read More Articles
The Future of Borosilicate 2010
Waste Stream Management
The future of Borosilicate
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Core Temperature
Competition & Success
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Waste Reduction & Recycling
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Waste Stream Management

Every industry has a waste stream created by the production of goods. Many corporations spend large amounts of money to understand how to use materials more wisely. Waste reduction translates into big savings in the long term. This is as true for the large corporation as it is for the individual glass blower. The fact is, it is cheaper to conserve than to produce. So, with this concept in mind we must ask ourselves, with this troubles economy how can we change our business practices in order to conserve?

Using scrap is a great way to supplement when supplies are on the way. There can be a lot of small scraps left over when blowing glass. A novice may have a hard time working with small scraps at first, but any experienced flame worker will tell you there’s money to be made with most scraps. Scraps are usually crushed to make powdered glass called “frit.” Scraps are also used to teach beginners, and in montage/collage style pieces. Usually, creations using only scrap are the pieces that tend to open you up to new possibilities.

Creating a recycling system at every station can save, and even make your business money. When I owned and operated a shop of nine people using the materials, recycling became a priority in order to keep capital on hand to run the business. As your ideas about glass are transformed, what looks like trash today may be gold with tomorrow’s new technique.

As borosilicate progresses we will have a greater understanding of the possibilities of this material. In theory, you may only throw away the worst of the worst materials, i.e., anything with boiling, pitting, or unwanted air bubbles. The scraps could be placed in a crucible heated in a furnace and used as cullet, or used in the fusing process. Fusing borosilicate has already been accomplished. More testing and data collection is needed for it to become more common. Imagine taking that box of bits and transforming it into some cash?

Recycling concepts go beyond recycling waste from work stations. It also means thinking about the trash produced by the individuals that work at the shop food containers and coffee cups. There is also the matter of waste produced by remodeling or upgrading your shop. Many items can be repurposed. This means finding creative uses for an item that would have otherwise been waste. Let me give you a crazy example.

My shop needed a new hood for four benches, we had a budget of $250 and needed it soon. My business partner had a very wacky idea that I thought would never work. His solution was to turn a old swamp cooler he had sitting at his house into a hood. Though I doubted his idea I didn’t have any alternative ideas. He proceeded to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

Step 1: Remove the cooler pads and have sheet metal cut to size in order to fit in place of the pads.

Step2: We purchased a new belt and lubed the motor.

Step3: Then we cut a hole in the top of the cooler; riveted on a hood around the top of the cooler, and flipped it upside down, and hung it in place.

The crazy idea worked!The best part was the project cost $150 and was actually great ventilation. This ended up being a very creative solution that saved a lot of money.We had quotes as high as $2,500 for professionally installed hoods.

We all have items sitting around that others would value. TorchLife is working to create a barter system on the site to help each other get rid the clutter, liquidate stored capital, recycle and repurpose,what might become waste. Unlock some of the energy stored in all of those projects that didn’t become what you had hoped.This is free so please take advantage of this service. Please contact TorchLife if you have any thoughts on this or want to be involved. We will keep you posted with regular updates in our newsletter.

.... Styles1 ***TORCHLIFE***

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