An extra 44,000 tonnes of glass each year is being recycled into new wine bottles, as a result of the GlassRite Wine project.
Additionally, 27,000 tonnes of glass have been saved through light-weighting wine bottles in the industry.
Commissioned by the Waste & Resources Action Programme in 2006 to find environmental and commercial savings in the wine glass sector, the GlassRite project has now succeeded in meeting its initial targets. These were increasing the use of lighter weight bottles in the UK, increasing the recycled content of bottles and increasing the volume of wine imported to the UK in bulk.
WRAP drinks category specialist Nicola Jenkins said although this project has ended, more can still be done by the sector: “We know from our previous projects that huge opportunities continue to exist to use more lighter weight bottles and increase the use of recycled content in UK manufactured glass bottles (by bulk importing wine into the country). This is what will achieve a more resource efficient international wine supply chain.”
The results were announced at the London International Wine Fair. Sainsbury’s packaging technologist Paula Chin said it was important for the supermarket to now see how recycled content in wine bottles can be increased. She explained: “We need to challenge the norms and what people’s perceptions [of wine bottles] are.” Chin gave examples of how changing the colour, shape and weight of wine bottles can convey different messages about the product to the consumer.
In order to increase resource efficiency, WRAP researched how to reduce the weight of wine bottles and, with Quinn Glass, it has since developed a 300g screw cap bottle – the first in the world. It is 40g lighter than the previous lightest bottle manufactured in the UK and is now being used by major supermarkets. According to WRAP if the bottle was used for all wine in the UK it would save 153,000 tonnes of glass each year and 119,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
As the second phase of the project, GlassRite looked at the international wine sector. By encouraging the use of bulk importation, where the wine is shipped over in bulk and filled in the UK, carbon emissions have been cut by 40%.