Wine industry seeking low-weight solutions for glass

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycled content Recyclable materials Carbon dioxide Uk

Major players in the wine industry are set to team up with
packagers and other stakeholders to improve cooperation in
supplying lightweight glass bottles to tackle environmental
concerns over the product.

The pledge was made at the closing of a forum between UK winemakers, retailers and their supply chain partners this week, aimed at discussing ways of increasing the availability of lighter weight glass bottles.

The decision follows the publication of new findings on Friday from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), that found that manufacturing glass emitted less carbon dioxide than manufacturing PET (Polyethylene terephthalate ) on a per unit weight basis.

With food and beverage manufacturers under increasing regulatory and consumer pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of their production process - particularly in terms of carbon emissions - the focus could be significant step for wine suppliers in meeting these requirements.

A number of groups including WRAP, as well as producers and packagers like Constellation Europe, Kingsland Wine & Spirits, and Ardagh Glass UK, attended the forum.

The participants agreed to improve communication and cooperation in the supply chain from bottle makers up to retailers on how to better obtain light weight glass for packaging.

However, John Corbet-Milward, a technical director for industry body the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) said there was a lot of work to be done in order to meet its green ambitions.

"This is a challenge facing the whole industry because it's clear the UK wine sector needs to reduce the thousands of tonnes of packaging waste it produces every year," he stated.

"We are pleased to have brought industry players face to face and delighted they have agreed to work more closely in future on the issue of lighter weight bottles."

Wrap findings According to the WRAP study, manufacturing glass is less carbon intensive than manufacturing PET on a per unit weight basis.

However, a PET wine bottle can be manufactured of lower weight than the glass equivalent and light weighting has been shown to reduce CO2 emissions with regard to transportation of loads.

Recycling importance For both glass and PET, the study shows that incorporating recycled content reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

When PET bottles are made from recycled PET flakes instead of virgin PET, less energy is required, as the first phase (crude oil synthesis) is avoided.

When glass is recycled there is no need for extraction of raw materials and the overall temperature needed to melt glass cullet (broken or waste glass) is less than that needed to melt virgin raw materials.

Core comparisons were made between an Amcor-produced PET bottle 54g with 0 per cent recycled content - found to produce an average of 446g CO2/bottle, a lightweight 365g glass bottle available in the UK with 81 per cent recycled content - found to produce an average of 453g CO2/bottle, and a 496g glass bottle available in the UK also with 81 per cent recycled content - found to produce an average of 523g CO2/ bottle.

Using a PET bottle with 50 per cent recycled content produced an average of 387g CO2/ bottle and using 100 per cycled content produced an average of 327g CO2/ bottle.

Using the 365g glass bottle with 92 per cent recycled content produced an average 356g CO2/bottle, the report stated.

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