Importing wine in bulk and bottling it in lighter bottles made locally could soon occur if a major initiative by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is successful.
WRAP estimate the UK could reduce its glass consumption by 105,000 tonnes a year through increasing bulk wine imports by 10%
Being the largest importer of wine in the world, the UK receives a billion bottles a year from Europe and the New World. But as the UK does not produce as many green bottles as it consumes in wine, a huge imbalance in the amount of waste green glass has been created.
WRAP hopes to work with the wine industry and retailers to develop cost-effective ways of reducing the volume of green glass that comes into the UK and increase demand for the domestic production of green glass wine bottles.
Following research into wine imports, WRAP believes both commercial and environmental benefits will be reaped by increasing the proportion of wine imported in bulk and then bottled in the UK, and lightweighting bottles by using less glass.
Only 20% of wine is imported into the country in bulk. WRAP believes that if this figure is pushed up to 30% there would be 55,000 tonnes less glass imported into the country and demand for recycled green glass in the UK would rise by 50,000 tonnes.
WRAP is also keen to support innovation and development into the lightweighting of bottles. It has created detailed models to calculate cost benefits for different products and scenarios, to help industry explore lightweighting and bulk importing.