Upcycled but still classic: Celebrating World Upcycling Day with an American Classic

Did you know World Upcycling Day is June 24?

World Upcycling Day is about celebrating the repurposing of old products into something new. 

Upcycling doesn't involve the breakdown of items to their base materials. Instead, it uses items just as they are in their present state to create a completely new item.

Back when I started transforming beverage bottles into jewelry and art, the word upcycling wasn’t even used. Recycling was the catch-all for using post-consumer materials. Well, advance 30 years and the industry of sustainable products has changed a lot, and new sub-categories exist. 

Transforming An Everyday Object Into Art

One of the things I love about the jewelry I create is that the bottles are still in their same shapes and the colors are all original to the bottles. It’s a great example of using something in their present state to create a completely new item. Although the cross section and the perspective are changed, the bottles are close to how they started. 

Upcycling Coca-Cola Bottles since 2006

I have no idea how many bottles I’ve transformed over the years, but trust me IT’S A LOT. I am constantly collecting bottles from restaurants and pulling them from dumpsters. Whether they get made into jewelry, art pieces, or lighting I do know upcycling them into new things is more cost effective than having them melted down and reformed so even though they could be recycled into new bottles, upcycling them into new products is a great way to use them first (I love that anything I make can ultimately be recycled, when it’s use is over).

I’ve worked with Coca-Cola since 2006 when they were getting ready to build their new World of Coke Museum in Atlanta. They were building a LEED Certified Building and wanted environmentally friendly products for the new gift shop. That’s when they found me, and asked me to “upcycle” their packaging into new jewelry products.

That’s when my Coca-Cola line was born, and it’s grown a lot over the years. The Coca-Cola glass is one of the most versatile in color, looks great with anything you wear it with: pastels, ocean colors, and pops against black! 


Starting June 24th, we're celebrating World Upcycling Day with an exclusive offer on our Coca-Cola collection. This collection is perfect for summer, just like Coca-Cola!

Now through July 6, our loyal customers can scoop up an exclusive 20% off any item in this collection. Check your inbox for the additional promo code!


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Kathleen Plate is the talented artist behind Smart Glass Jewelry. Born and raised in Cathlamet, a small town in Washington State, her small-town roots are evident in her minimalist, “keep it simple” design philosophy. Now residing in Atlanta, Georgia, you’ll find her every day in her studio, tinkering and creating, and hitting the occasional dumpster at night.


Smart Glass Jewelry is an artist's studio based out of Atlanta, Georgia specializing in upcycling post-consumer glass bottles into wearable, beautiful jewelry. Smart Glass Jewelry reclaims glass beer, wine, saki, vodka, soda and gin bottles to create their colorful and sustainable designs.