British Glass and WRAP: new wine bottle project

A new project from British Glass and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has been set up to boost the UK“s glass recycling market and reduce the amount of glass waste coming from the wine indus…

A new project from British Glass and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has been set up to boost the UK“s glass recycling market and reduce the amount of glass waste coming from the wine industry by encouraging bulk imports of wine and bottling it in lighter glass bottles manufactured in the UK. The UK is the largest importer of wine in the world, importing over one billion litres per year from Europe and the New World, and about 80% arrives already bottled. Research from WRAP states that the current average weight of a 75cl wine bottle is 500g, even if there are bottles of around 300g in circulation. By encouraging the lightweighting of wine bottles, UK glass waste could be reduced by 20,000 tonnes. This project follows on from the success of the original Container Lite project, completed in April 2006. A special mention goes to Coors for successfully lightweighting its 300ml Grolsch bottle by 13%, saving 4,500 tonnes of glass waste per year. Director general of British Glass, David Workman, said, It is clear that the UK glass industry is fully committed to this latest initiative. Lighter bottles ultimately mean less waste as well as making important savings in raw materials and energy use which will be of significant environmental benefit. Bulk importation is significantly more cost-effective for transporting wine to the UK, as shipping costs can be reduced by up to 40% and the environment also sees significant benefits due to less fuel used. Green glass is mainly used to bottle wine in the country of origin, which has led to a colour imbalance issue in the UK, with 64% clear glass and just 20% green. By importing wine in bulk and bottling in green bottles produced in the UK, a stronger market for surplus green glass will be created. If bulk importing is not possible, the project will encourage a colour change from green to flint bottles to reduce green imports. A series of commercial trials will soon be underway involving major UK retailers such as Asda and Tesco to demonstrate the benefits of the initiatives, aiming to understand the barriers associated with bulk importing and lightweighting. Andy Dawe, WRAP Glass Technology manager explained, Despite the concerns that some overseas suppliers may have, the UK bottling industry has plenty of capacity to both produce and fill bottles. Research at WRAP shows that an additional 10% switch will mean 55,000 tonnes less glass imported and a rise in demand for recycled green glass in the UK of 50,000 tonnes; a combined improvement of 105,000 tonnes per year. This will also improve the industry“s carbon emissions profile, whilst at the same time reducing business costs. The project is being overseen by representatives from British Glass, Constellation, Quinn Glass, the Wine & Spirits Trade Association, Trans Ocean Distribution Ltd and Tesco. WRAP has also developed a web-based tool to demonstrate the economic and environmental savings connected with bulk importation of wine and the use of lighter weight bottles. For example, if one of Australia“s major wine brands was imported in bulk and bottled in the UK estimated total savings would be GBP 212,600 per year and a potential carbon saving of 300tpa the equivalent to taking 348 cars off the road.