As a way of creating a source of income, Jackson Mugisha and James Safari, both 27, came up with the idea of recycling empty beer and wine bottles into drinking glasses. The idea set in after Mugisha came across a pile of empty wine and liquor bottles at a building site. He instantly knew he had to put that to good use, and that’s how they got started. “After I took them home, I searched for something creative I can use them for. I researched and put my own creativity at work and got the idea of recycling them into juice glasses, beer glasses, wine glasses, decorations, lamp holders, vases and many more others,” Mugisha says. The two collect empty bottles from different coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. They have also managed to partner with some trash collectors who deliver these bottles to them. “We can get 85 glasses from 100 bottles, and this is because some break in process-making while others get damaged. We have two part-time workers who come to help when we have many bottles to work on. Currently we only work on orders from individuals, bars or restaurants, where we brand the glasses for them and put their logos,” says Safari. After getting the bottles, they boil them in hot water as a way of cleaning them, and then later turn them into their desired products. “Everyone asks us how safe and clean the glasses can be, but they are very clean and safe. Once we get the empty bottles we put them in boiling water, normally these bottles are very strong and rarely break. But in case one breaks, we remove it. The second process is cutting and sanding the edges of the glasses so that they can be smooth and safe to drink from, we use a sanding machine and sanding paper. After that, we re-clean the bottles with clean soap and water and with ethanol that kills any bacteria. This way, they are safe to drink from,” Mugisha adds. A dozen of the glasses cost Rwf 24,000 and half a dozen is Rwf 13,000, whereas one glass is Rwf 1,000. So far their business has been running smoothly but Mugisha points out that they have encountered a few challenges, especially due to the current pandemic. “Our biggest challenge has been getting the empty bottles due to the closure of shops and restaurants because of the pandemic. But once they re-open, we plan to expand our business and add different designs. We also want to be able to distribute our products to more customers,” he adds.