Roca Recicla | Turning empty glass bottles of daily service into creative tableware pieces


  • © El Celler de Can RocaRoca Recicla by © El Celler de Can Roca
  • Anna TubauRoca Recicla - Anna Tubau
  • © El Celler de Can RocaRoca Recicla by © El Celler de Can Roca
  • Anna TubauRoca Recicla - Anna Tubau
  • © El Celler de Can RocaEat Sit by Andreu Carulla - © El Celler de Can Roca
  • Anna TubauRoca Recicla - Anna Tubau
  • © El Celler de Can RocaRoca Recicla by © El Celler de Can Roca

Restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (Spain) has been awarded two times ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ (2013 & 2015) and has 3 Michelin stars since 2009. On yearly base, 22.500 bottles of wines are being opened in this restaurant. In fact, their cellar treasures more than 40.000 bottles. Unfortunately, most of the bottles end up in the garbage at the end of the night and therefore, the Roca Brothers’ team decided to transform the empty glass bottles of daily service into creative tableware pieces through Roca Recicla. Although introduces last year we love the initiative and we have a similar initiative in the Netherlands, Rebottled. Rebottled also believes that upcycling is the new recycling. They extend the lifespan of wine bottles by making drinking glasses at a workplace of the Salvation Army in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Roca Recicla

“Nature provides us with all the raw material we source for our kitchen, and by reusing and upcycling glass we have the opportunity to give back all that nature gives to us, which is a lot”,  says Jordi Roca, the pastry chef. Under these premises the Roca brothers and their team have given life to Roca Recicla, a project that wants to take one step beyond recycling by transforming the empty glass bottles generated at the restaurant into tableware pieces that can be reused. “We use creativity so as to give a second life to these bottles, turning a supposed useless object into something useful and beautiful, involving in the process people in risk of labor exclusion that are also given a second chance”, says Joan Roca.

Glass workshop

As in the case of Elena Portillo, who every morning collects the bottles that have been emptied the day before and takes them to the glass workshop next to La Masia in front of El Celler de Can Roca. This craftswoman is the responsible for the glass fusing, cutting and polishing that breathes new life into the used glass. By her hands and through this process, the wine, water, cava, champagne and liquor bottles are reborn as trays, dishes, glasses, and original stands that will be used to serve some of the Roca brothers sweet, savory and liquid creations.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The idea follows the upcycling trend that under the motto ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ wants to promote waste reduction by their creative reuse. Due to the consumption reduction and lower waste generation that reusing implies, creative reuse can generate a positive effect on the environment. But the effects that the Roca brothers would like to cause with this project go one step further. They consider people, not only environment, as their global through creativity and labor inclusion. They also carry out campaigns to raise local awareness that bring children closer to this subject through workshops that are held at public libraries in Catalonia.

Eat Sit | Another sustainable project

Other sustainable project of ‘Roca Recicla’ is for example ‘Eat Sit’: a series of recycled polystyrene stools made from waste of El Celler de Can Roca. Spanish designer Andreu Carulla created codenamed RR201, and this project is innovative in three ways: reusing a non-recyclable material, inventing a whole new process with which to recycle it and creating a useful and long-lasting product as a result.

Carulla’s RR201 has permitted to the restaurant to reuse and avoid the waste of expanded polystyrene boxes used for food preservation and transportation. After an eco-friendly coating, the result is a highly durable, lightweight stool (less than 2kg). The restaurant utilizes ingredients from 6 polystyrene boxes per day and each individual RR201 stool is made of the exact amount of resulting polystyrene waste. The restaurant will make one stool per day that will be numbered with the delivery date of the original polystyrene boxes. Although produced by mold, each stool varies in surface texture, meaning that no two are exactly the same.

During Milan Design Week 2018, the stools were exhibited in the courtyard of the Rossana Orlandi Gallery, where the collection launched in a limited edition colourway especially for the event (apart from the standard 3 other colours).

Website: Roca Recicla

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