When did glass become less eco-friendly than plastic?


Last week the article ‘Is it time to pass on glass when it comes to serving wine’ was published on the Independent. It really got us thinking – when did glass become less eco-friendly than plastic for some people?


In the article, the journalist talks about the popular Italian restaurant chain Jamie Oliver’s Restaurants and their choice to serve wine packaged in Tetra Pak to their consumers.


The Chain of restaurants may of course choose to provide their customers with wine in ‘snazzy’ cartons as a marketing point of difference, but to claim Tetra Pak to be a greener choice than 100% recyclable glass as the chain’s MD Simon Blagden does, is we believe, misleading.


Tetra Pak’s three material elements – paper, plastic and aluminium, cannot be ‘closed loop’ recycled in the same way like bottles and jars, which can become new bottles and jars again in less than 30 days. In most cases, Tetra Pak cartons must be exported for specialist recycling or incinerated.


The article goes on to make selective material comparisons drawing on just manufacturing or distribution elements. What about the energy consumed when extracting oil and mining for Bauxite aluminium? Or the incineration process at end of the product’s life? The article also misses the fact that the majority of wine bottles are now ‘lightweighted’, becoming up to 40% lighter in recent years.


People who choose glass bottles for wine aren’t being snobbish. Glass is an inert, taste-free, and endlessly recyclable compound that simply makes it the best – and most sustainable – material for the job!


Why? Because glass doesn’t leach, it doesn’t react chemically with its contents and it offers an excellent barrier to gases. Glass is the only packaging material that fully preserves the original taste of wine, and with glass, wine tastes like wine! What’s more, the superiority of glass is confirmed by several independent studies*.


Consumers also prefer glass.  82.7% of consumers want to drink their white wine which has been preserved in glass and 74.9% prefer to have red wine in glass. (British Glass Taste Campaign Research)


* See e.g. the study, which was carried out by the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) in Bordeaux, which found that the flavour and chemical composition of white wine changed within six months of being packed in single‐ and multi‐layer PET bottles and bag‐in‐box.




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