As reported on the Waste Aware Business news page earlier today a high profile wine critic has decided to ignore the heaviest glass bottles when it comes to recommending to readers what wine to drink.
Even the most delectable amrita will be cast aside if it arrives in what Tim Atkin deems to be excessive packaging. It’s a bold move and one which highlights the efforts being made by those with influence towards more environmentally friendly options. Tim lays a lot of the blame with Spain, Italy and Argentina who seem to have some kind of machismo desire to produce weighty bottles to match their beefier wines.
Without seeing a clear carbon footprint analysis of the wine bottles concerned it is impossible to accurately gauge how much importance we should place on choosing lighter bottles. But we don’t need to get the calculators out to know, via the wonderful medium of common sense, that reducing glass packaging weight will lead to a number of benefits:
- less fuel to transport the wine to its final destination.
- fewer raw materials required to produce the bottles therefore less resources required to obtain those materials.
- less fuel to transport the raw materials that make up glass to the wine bottle manufacturers
- less fuel to transport the wines to our homes
- less glass waste overall in UK
- lower weights of waste in recycling trucks – less fuel and increased capacity
So, although the finer intricacies of the overall benefit to the environment (such as the origin of the glass and whether we will recycle lightweight glass as much) are still to be ironed out, it still seems sensible to support Tim’s stance on this.
Research by WRAP (pdf), as part of their Glassrite project, suggests that there are a number of factors to consider when making bottles lighter but concludes that
Modern manufacturing methods allow glass manufacturers to produce wine bottles that are significantly lighter than was previously possible, without compromising safety.
It’s now up to the manufacturers to prove that they have the bottle to address this issue properly.