Two high-profile Australian wine labels – Accolade Wines’ Banrock Station and Taylors’ One Small Step – have partnered with packaging company Packamama to bottle wines in eco-bottles made entirely from recycled PET plastic.
The launch – the first time the bottles have been used in Australia – seeks to “reshape the carbon footprint” of wine by targeting an industry hotspot, the glass bottle.
In a nod to wine bottling tradition, Packamama designed the eco-bottle to share the same classic high-shouldered silhouette of a traditional Bordeaux-style wine bottle, but when turned to the side, reveals a slimmer, flatter profile that allows twice as many bottles to fit in a standard wine case – making it more efficient to transport.
Switching entirely to eco-bottles would cut an estimated 250,000 km of road freight a year, the equivalent of a semi-trailer travelling from Melbourne to northwest Australia 50 times.
According to the wineries, using recycled PET saves weight, and with the bottles being 83 per cent lighter than glass, emissions in transport are reduced, as well as the energy needed in production and recycling.
Moreover, the eco-bottles are recyclable – except for the caps.
Santiago Navarro, founder and CEO of Packamama, said that while the shape of the eco-bottle is a departure from the traditional round, he is confident now is the right time for Australian winemakers to challenge centuries of tradition respectfully.
“Australia has globally recognised as a leader in wine packaging thanks to break-through innovations, including bag-in-box casks and screw-top caps for wines. We are highly motivated to launch our climate-friendly bottle at Coles with Accolade Wines and Taylors Wines,” said Navarro.
While transitioning to plastic bottles may sound like the better option for sustainability, glass offers many advantages, particularly for the wine sector, as its material offers a longer shelf life, is resealable, and is refillable – an alternative to disposal.
For example, US winery Gotham Project has launched a glass bottle refilling program, where customers can refill their bottles in their participating wine shops.
Furthermore, glass with metal caps is widely and easier recycled because there’s no need for separation, and every component can be broken down and moulded into new bottles – including their caps.
Compared to plastic, should glass eventually enter landfills or the oceans, it will not give off harmful gas or toxic chemicals due to its inert nature.