Announcing the results of a 4-year project in the UK called GlassRite Wine to reduce the environmental impact of the wine sector, WRAP said there is still plenty of scope for improvement.
Nicola Jenkin, who is responsible for the drinks category at WRAP, said: “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.”
In terms of lightweighting, Jenkin told BeverageDaily.com that at least 10 per cent of the glass used in wine bottles in the UK could be cut out, and up to 30 per cent is not an impossible challenge.
WRAP also called for an increase in bulk importation, arguing that the UK has the capacity from both a bottle manufacturing perspective and a filling perspective to take on more wine. Currently only about 20 per cent of UK wine imports come over in bulk and increasing that figure could have a big impact - according to WRAP shipping in bulk can cut both CO2 and costs by 30-40 per cent.
Jenkin said there is big potential outside the UK as well. "With growing markets in India and China, opportunities for bulk importation directly into these countries or via Europe are worth exploring."
Jenkin made the comments as WRAP released the results of the GlassRite Wine project, laying out where improvements have been made and where further progress can still be achieved.
Progress so far
WRAP said the project, which finished in March this year, generated annual CO2 savings of 35,000 tonnes. The government sponsored eco body said this figure was achieved by reducing bottle weight and increasing recycled content.
Initiatives such as the creation of a 300g screw cap bottle in partnership with Quinn Glass helped reduce glass bottle weight by a total of 27,048 tonnes.
Working with industry, WRAP also succeeded in increasing the use of recycled glass in UK wine bottle manufacture by 44,295 tonnes per annum. WRAP said this was achieved by increasing bulk importation of wine for UK filling by the equivalent of 190m 75cl glass bottles.
WRAP also acknowledged that a lot of progress has been made outside the UK and efforts going forward will have to build on that work.
Jenkin said: “A lot of fantastic work is being done by the international wine sector with more and more brands adopting lighter weight bottles or bulk exporting. Building on this momentum is important to ensure the sector continues to improve its environmental impact and play a role in protecting its future during this period of climatic uncertainty,” she added.