Following the publication of its Alternative Packaging for Wine report in May, The Wine Society has embarked on the second phase of its packaging trial. This week, four of The Society’s most popular wines, including its top-selling wine, The Society’s White Burgundy, will be released in rPET bottles in collaboration with Packamama.
The flat-pack, recycled plastic bottles are considerably lighter than glass bottles weighing 63g compared to an average of 460g for glass bottles, resulting in a lower-carbon footprint, as well as offering consumers greater convenience and portability through their space-saving design. The bottles are also fully recyclable. As part of its bold Sustainability Plan and goal of halving its total carbon footprint by 50% by 2032, The Wine Society earlier this year commissioned an independent study to identify and review all available alternative packaging formats to glass, and the flat-pack, recycled plastic bottle by Packamama came out as one of the better options.
Light to transport, space saving across the supply chain, and made from 100% recycled PET plastic, the bottle and cap are fully recyclable by 99% of local authorities in the UK unlike other packaging options like cartons and pouches. While a shelf life of up to 18 months is technically possible, Society members are being recommended a drinking window of 6 months for this bottle format.
Dom de Ville, Director of Sustainability and Social Impact comments: “In our recent carbon report, we shared the news that glass bottles account for 31% of The Society’s total emissions. To achieve our ambitious reduction targets, we need to significantly reduce our emissions attributable to packaging. One way to do this is putting more of our wines into lower-carbon packaging formats. Although rPET might sound controversial, with today’s technology and in the absence of a proper system in the UK to collect and reuse glass bottles, the recycled plastic bottle is a really good option. It has a lower-carbon footprint than glass and can be recycled at home.
“While we recognise there is a plastic pollution problem, it is not necessarily plastic itself that is the problem, rather it is what we do with it. This is why we are taking a practical approach to plastic, seeing its benefit in our efforts on climate change, rather than taking a black-or-white stance that all plastics are bad. This bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic and is recycled everywhere in the UK – which helps to support a more circular economy.”
The trial of the Packamama rPET bottles follows the release of six of The Society’s wines in bag-in-box (BiB). The BiB trial was a great success with the wines selling out in three weeks. This second packaging trial will support The Wine Society to reduce its carbon emissions and should members back the new format, the business will commit to the bottles becoming a permanent fixture in the range.
Pierre Mansour, The Wine Society’s Director of Wine adds: “We are trialling these bottles with wines designed to be drunk young and our tastings confirmed that the quality compares favourably with the same wines in glass and BiB. While rPET has less of a track record with wine, we will want to satisfy ourselves, and
members, that there is no impact at all on quality. Only then, and assuming members continue to buy them and their feedback is positive, will we include them as a more permanent fixture in our range.”
Santiago Navarro, CEO & Founder of Packamama concludes: “The Wine Society is taking major steps to reduce their emissions. Having been founded in 1874, when atmospheric CO2 measured 288 parts per million (ppm), they are one of the very few wine businesses still around today that knows a world below 300ppm; which is how our Earth has been for at least the last 800,000 years, probably 3 million years. Nowadays, we have passed 420ppm and at 430ppm we will be at 1.5°C of warming, which the IPCC recommends that we stay below. We are very grateful to The Wine Society for their pioneering climate action and are deeply honoured to collaborate with them to help them reduce their emissions through trialling our eco-flat bottles.”