Doug Tweed and business partner Peter Pistilli first brainstormed the concept of producing architectural sheet glass from recycled bottles more than a decade ago.
However, creating the manufacturing process took both time and a lot of patience.
Doug was doing a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at the Institute of Arts in Canberra when he came up with the idea.
The boffins at the Australian National University said it could not be done but he persevered and, with the help of Peter, a furnace technology expert, they developed a unique process.
With the help of a research grant from the State Government to develop their manufacturing technique, the partners began to consider it a financially viable proposition and the Eco Architectural Glass company was born.
The new product ” called Marvelglass ” is kiln-fired into strong, translucent, marble-look glass sheets at the workshops.
At first sight the factory, which is piled high with old bottles, could be mistaken for a clandestine bootleg liquor operation.
An alliance with local wineries for unwanted container glass ensures there are enough of the receptacles to maintain the right colour for continuity of quality.
The bottles are crushed then fused together in the kiln to form sheet glass three metres long by a metre-and-a-half wide and 30mm thick, weighing in at a massive 300kg.
The resulting product is strong, scratch and wear-resistant and can be used for building exterior panelling, benchtops, splashbacks, floor, bathroom vanities and event furniture.
Doug and Peter are now almost ready to go into full production and architects from all around Australia have already shown a keen interest in their work.
The partners have a website up and running ” eco-architectural.com ” and have bold expansion plans for the Midland-developed process.