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 products, tetra pak winePhoto © Chris Willis

You might be wondering what the heck is wrong with using a glass bottle for wine anyway? Well, not that much — if your wine is from down the street, ie. very local. Plenty of lucky folks on the West Coast and in France, Spain and Germany can drink wine that’s made fewer than 100 miles away. But if you don’t live in a wine-growing region, as I don’t (if you live on the East Coast, it’s actually more eco-friendly to get European wine that’s shipped on a less-polluting boat than Californian, which is trucked).

Since plenty of wine is transported pretty incredible distances (I HATE that my favorite wine is Shiraz from Australia), the weight of all that glass really adds up to lots more fossil fuel burning than need be if the wine were packaged in a lighter material. While you can’t change much about the weight of the wine itself, smart design can lighten the weight of a case of wine bottles.

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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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