Champagne bottles contain three times the air pressure of a typical car tire, which is why the iconic green bottles weigh 900 grams (two pounds). Not for long though – makers of Champagne bottles in France have been working on slimming down the bottle in an effort to reduce its weight, thereby reducing carbon emissions from transportation. A New York Times article reports that after much research and testing, manufacturers have streamlined the bottle through its shoulders, shaving off 65 grams (2.3 oz). Many Champagne producers have already switched over or are planning to do so.
A 2003 study found that the Champagne industry emits 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year in the process of transporting the bubbly drink around the world. The industry as a whole now has a goal of reducing its footprint by 25% by 2020 and 75% by 2050 and the slimmer bottle is just one of their tactics. The region’s trade organization, Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), is recommending that producers switch over to the new bottle, which started production in 2003 — well-known brands like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot switched over this year.
The design of the slimmer bottle required a feat of engineering in order to handle the pressure of Champagne for more than four years — from bottling all the way to the buyer’s hands — while still retaining the traditional look and feel of the iconic bottle. The production of the new bottle alone reduces carbon emissions by 7%, and the slimmer shape allows 2,400 more bottles to be transported in a truck. Currently the new bottles cost about 32 euro cents (41 US cents) and are not all that much cheaper than the older bottles, but prices are expected to come down as more producers buy the new shape.
Via New York Times
Images © Stéphane Lavoué for The International Herald Tribune