I have many children (which I know is not eco friendly). During their short lives they have all broken many glasses, usually at the dinner table, at the end of the day, when I am not feeling particularly forgiving.
One way to get around this would be to use plastic glasses. But I don’t like plastic in any form, even when it is BPA-free, etc. You never get quite the same sense of clean and fresh with plastic as you do with glass.
So, I started hunting for the glasses of my youth which were, I was certain, virtually unbreakable. We had the same glasses at home (I know these never broke: my sister still uses them, 45 years later, in a kitchen with stone floors) and at school (anyone else remember reading the little numbers off the bottom while struggling to consume inedible school vegetables?).
A bit of research led me to Duralex a French company that has been making tempered glassware since the 1930s. The tempering process is achieved through heating the glass to over 600C and then rapidly cooling it (needless to say, that means no worries about hot/cold when you use the glasses). Glasses come in various classic styles: I like the Picardie Hi-ball 12oz (pictured), though for school memories, you will need Gigogne. The company also makes bowls and plates, which is great if you are worried about microwaving in plastic.
Yes, all glasses are made in France and shipped around the world and, yes, there must be considerable energy used in their manufacture. But, the pleasure of a well-balanced glass that you can use for decades, indoors and out, that won’t chip in the dishwasher and that can, apparently, double as a hammer at a pinch, makes that all worthwhile for me.
Duralex glasses are generally sold in sets and retail for about $5 each. See here for US stockists. In the UK, try here. In Canada, you can find the Picardie glasses in various sizes at Bed Bath and Beyond ($26.99 for 6 Picardie 12oz). You can find the full line, including bowls, plates and ramekins through the Duralex Canada distributor. See here for a list of retail locations.