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Reducing Carbon Footprint: Recycling Wine Bottles

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The wine bottle has, over time, become somewhat of a powerful iconic symbol for wine drinkers all over the world. A shapely bottle with the best eye-catching label appeals to wine lovers even more than a cluster of fresh, plump grapes. According to Know the Flow, a single wine bottle has a carbon footprint of around 1.28kg CO2. Most wine discussions revolve around regions, vintners, and whether or not a particular bottle of wine is vintage.

They rarely touch on the production of wine bottles, mode of transportation, or the energy required to power production equipment at the wineries. However, it is essential to understand that your wine’s journey is as important as where this bottle has come from. Here is a quick look into what goes into the production of your favorite wine.

The production of grapes, packaging, and transportation

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The impact of the wine bottle begins at the wineries. Research shows that raw materials production accounts for 0.80kg of the total 1.28kg of CO2. This figure also includes packaging production. Colman and Paster undertook a study of the different types of transportation methods.

It revealed that air cargo had the worst footprint of all the transportation modes while shipping by sea was the most efficient. This is to say that French wine sent to the US east coast via cargo ship has a lower carbon footprint compared to California wine sent via air transport.

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Recycling as a viable alternative

It is apparent that the wine industry worldwide contributes substantially to the carbon footprint. As a wine producer, the question on your mind should be how to change this. For some years now, researchers have known that about 60% of the carbon footprint comes from manufacturing the wine bottles, transporting them to the winery for filling, and then their global distribution for consumption.

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As the need for industries to reduce their footprint becomes more pressing, some businesses in the wine industry have started looking for alternatives to this energy-draining process. Perhaps the most implemented change has been wineries opting to use recycled bottles to package their wines, which is more environmentally responsible. You will be surprised to find out that only a small percentage of all your wine bottles get recycled.

Thankfully, this is slowly changing. If you are coming up with your wine program, you might consider such alternatives for bottling your product. Apart from recycled glass bottles, some brands use recycled paper for packaging their wines. Although all this is a move in the right direction, it is still necessary to analyze what goes into recycling glass bottles to understand whether using recycled glass bottles significantly reduces your footprint, as is implied.

The process of recycling glass bottles

You probably enjoy downing your favorite wine while playing games at Grande Vegas online casino USA. When you finish and throw it into the recycling bin, it is collected and taken to recycling centers. Here, the bottles are cleaned and then grouped by colors. For example, colors like brown, clear, and green are grouped separately.

This separation part of the process is critical. Once these wine bottles make it to the recycling facility, they are crushed into smaller pieces known as cullet. The latter is then thrown into the furnace and combined with small amounts of materials such as limestone and sand to develop new glass.

The furnace is heated up to 2,600-2,800oF depending on the type of glass being recycled. Once liquefied, this glass can be formed into new wine bottles. Apart from being molded into new wine bottles or other containers, recycled glass can also be made into building materials such as tile and fiberglass. New recycled wine bottles can be up to 70% cullet, which translates to a significant reduction in mining new materials.

Using them also reduces the energy consumption as cullet melts at a lower temperature than new materials. This also extends the lifespan of glass furnaces and causes fewer carbon emissions. It is worth noting that for every 6 tons of recycled glass, one ton of carbon is saved from being released into the air.

Moreover, you needn’t worry about the quality of the bottles as reputable manufacturers always seek the highest quality of cullet. Apart from reducing the carbon footprint, recycling glass creates several job opportunities. Therefore, besides using sustainable practices in your winery, you will also uplift the economy.

From the process, you can see that recycling bottles could substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Therefore, when revising your current program, you should consider looking further into this viable option. Things like finding a local wine supplier are also worth thinking about.

It might take longer for most wineries to adopt these and other sustainable alternatives, but since consumers are more interested in sustainability now than ever, this is the right time to start doing your research. Recycling and choosing more sustainable production methods will put you ahead of the competition.

Other creative uses for recycled wine bottles

There are several ways to keep your wine bottles out of the trash. They make for great home décor pieces, and if you are an avid DIYer, there are several options. You can use them as vases to hold flowers or as light fixtures. Have them individually hung or grouped to form chandeliers for your home for a more timeless take. You will never run out of decor options with these bottles.

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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