Starre Vartan

Packaging the Future: Is Boxed or Bottled Wine Better for the Earth?

by , 07/10/11

packaging the future, boxed wine, green design, green packaging, sustainable design, sustainable packaging materials, bottled wine, green wine, eco wine, sustainable wine, green productsPhoto by Robert S. Donovan

However, box wine isn’t perfect. Boxes are not good for aging wines, so vintages that you want to keep for years in the basement aren’t going to fare well in a box. But frankly, not a lot of wine is aged – the vast majority is consumed within a year or so of its production. The biggest advantage that glass bottles have (aside from tradition) is that they are easily recyclable. While Tetra Paks (what most new ‘box’ wines is packaged in) can be recycled (and they are to a higher degree in Europe), here in the United States we are far behind and aren’t able to easily recycle them (though plenty of communties do – check yours here).

However when you consider the energy it takes to melt and transport glass for recycling, even if you don’t recycle the Tetra Pak, the energy savings alone make up for the (fairly low-volume) landfill use.

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7 Comments

  1. Sunshine and Waves July 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Definitely 75 or 150 cl bottles with cork for vintage wines. Makes it possible to preserve the right taste over years to come.

    Definitely 500 cl aseptic cartons for non-vintage wines. Makes it easy to reduce and recycle packaging for fresh wines that are drank within 12 months or so from filling and can be stored at ambient temperature.

    Many areas already have well established recycling for glass and cartons among others so it’s rather easy move.

    As said earlier, one can also continue to reuse that glass decanter or carafe even if serving “only” non-vintage wine.

  2. MikeHimself July 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Not as simple as it seems. Some wines are shipped in tankers and bottled locally. Makes it difficult to do the calculations. Also, it could be argued that plastic liners do not bio-degrade and are therefore more polluting.
    So if you are really serious about this, you should make your own by fermenting locally grown fruit and re-use the bottles.

  3. Msgabc July 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I have no proof, but i really question your conclusion. As noted, tetrapaks are awesome for preservation and weight savings, but terrible for recycling and not-so-good when it comes to manufacturing. Glass otoh, if awesome for both manufacturing and recycling; weight issues seem managable when the wine is shipped via containerized freight.

    Personally i like the bag-in-a-box, i just wish you coild get higher quality wines in these packages.

  4. dpr July 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Or you could just not drink wine if it’s that big of a deal. TetraPaks are horrible for recycling.

    I have yet to find a drinkable wine in a box. Pretty design, yes. Good wine, notsomuch. I’ll stick with glass, and look down at people for other things. Like hard to read websites (cough cough cough) that have to many ads you can’t find the content.

  5. lazyreader July 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Be it box or bottle, there will always be a demand for fancy bottles. Not just the snobs but the purists of wine. I don’t drink alcohol at all but respect the history. Wine can last for centuries in a well sealed bottle, that’s what makes it valuable. And for the sophisticated, why not use the a decanter. Many tout the aesthetic value of using a decanter, especially one with an elegant design and made with clear glass, and believe that for all but the most fragile of wines that there is not much significant damage to the wine by decanting it.

    I just think it’s funny how France has such strict control over it’s wine industry. In France, government issues level of control to wine growers……………the grapes you can grow, what vineyards may grow it, all thanks to obsolete standards and practices. In California, people are entrepreneurs who are free to grow what they want, when they want, how they want. That’s why sales of wine in France have declined and sales in America and Australia and South Africa are growing. 90 percent of Americas wine comes from California; a changing trend now that New York, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, and Washington have all taken an interest in vineyards with them growing new grape hybrids not even found in Europe.

  6. Jessica Dailey Jessica Dailey July 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I had no idea that it was more eco-friendly to get European wine on the East Coast rather than West Coast wine, due to the transportation emissions. Good to know!

  7. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda July 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Boxed wine = #winning. It’s an Inhabifave!

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