All Glass Goes in the Fire

By Darren

“All glass goes in the fire” is our camping motto, and I wish I could take credit for it. It was my buddy Steve who came up with that one.

See, when Heather and I were first invited to join Steve and Regina on a camping trip, we unpacked our car and got our things set up, and then I asked, “So…  What do you do when you camp, anyway?”

“Get drunk,” Steve said. “Burn stuff.”

Since I’m pretty much always looking for opportunities to do these two things, whether independent of one another or in concert, I knew I was going to like camping just fine.

The idea of all glass going in the fire is simple enough: When you’re finished with a bottle, don’t pitch it in – god forbid – your recycling.  No, no, no.

Toss it in the fire ring, and watch it melt over the course of the next few hours. Toss another bottle in, and maybe it’ll fuse to the first one. Put enough bottles in, and by the next morning, you might wake up to an amorphous, flattened blob of glass. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find that a bottle, although severely deformed, is still recognizable as a bottle, and now you have a souvenir for a shelf at home or your work desk.

If you’ve read the above, and you’re thinking, “Yeah… But why…?”, then I can’t help you.

glass bottles in campfire table mountain campground

Now, here’s the thing: Melting glass in the fire is tricky because 99 percent of the bottles you put in a fire are going to chip, break or shatter. Sometimes this happens right away, sometimes it takes hours.

It’s always the bottles you think will survive that don’t make it. Wine bottles? Forget it. The bottoms usually crack off within minutes. Nice, thick bottles – like bourbon bottles – fracture like fine porcelain. Jars? Might as well throw them at a nearby rock. For some reason, brown beer bottles do the best. Does that mean you spare clear or green bottles? Are you paying attention?! ALL GLASS GOES IN THE FIRE!

And be creative! Put your bottle inside an empty tin can before nestling it deep in the pink-orange glow. See how it melts over the can’s rim like a deflating balloon.

One time we got a bottle so hot, Steve was able to pull the thing apart like a piece of taffy. Another time, we hung the necks of the bottles from holes along the walls of the fire ring so that they looked like the spokes of a wheel. The melt-y result would have been awesome, I’m sure, but we kept forgetting they were there and broke every one of them off whenever we tossed in a fresh piece of firewood.

Really, the only limit here is your own imagination.