Glass art re-uses tons of waste material

by Elizabeth Nolan  |  Gulf Islands Driftwood  |  April 3, 2019

Sometime last week on Salt Spring, artist Mark Lauckner would have melted his 250,000th pound of scrap window glass at The Glass Foundry and transformed it into his iconic coastal giftware.

Lowering the environmental footprint of a wasteful industry has been a preoccupation ever since Lauckner first started making glass work in the early 1990s. A quarter-million pounds of glass that would otherwise have gone into landfills has now been made into beautiful items like starfish, seahorses and slugs.

Lauckner has succeeded admirably at changing a resource-heavy craft into one that has a positive impact. He has done this not just by diverting hundreds of tons of material from waste but through creating and promoting an energy-efficient furnace that glass artists are replicating free of charge all over the world.

“When I first got into glasswork I realized how wasteful it was of resources,” he said. “It’s kind of like race-car driving, where you can have a hobby like that where you put huge amounts of technology and fuel and energy and money into a past-time that you do for a short amount of time and then it’s over for that month. And I was kind of appalled at glass-blowing. To melt 100 pounds of glass I was going through about 40 pounds of propane … I wanted to get off propane and try electric designs and that’s when I realized, wow, this is costing me a fraction, and it’s safer and cleaner.”

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