Groundbreaking wine initiative stimulates innovation

Posted by Isobel Drake on 14th May 2009

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has announced the latest glass savings of over 20,000 tonnes from its pioneering GlassRite Wine project. Based in the UK, the project involves working with the entire international wine supply chain to deliver major environmental and commercial benefits.The new data also shows that since its inception in 2006 the project, which is collaborating with producers, brand owners, agents, bottle manufacturers and fillers and retailers around the globe, has increased the bulk importation of wine to the UK by over 90 million litres, which equates to 36 Olympic-sized swimming pools – with nearly 115 million glass bottles being filled in the UK.

The benefits

The UK is the world’s largest importer of wine, buying in some 1.6 million bottles every year. This leads to 630,000 tonnes of glass entering the UK’s waste stream and creates significant CO2 emissions through transportation. Through the project, WRAP is seeking to reduce this impact by encouraging the use of lighter-weight wine bottles, as well as the bulk importation of wine to the UK. Bulk importation in turn raises demand for glass bottles manufactured in the UK. In addition, UK’s widely-available supply of recycled green glass allows the supply chain to increase the amount of recycled content in these bottles, adding further environmental benefit.

The project is also driving broader commercial benefits, with companies throughout the supply chain reporting cost and raw material savings. A wide range of organisations are already taking part, including major names such as Constellation Europe, Kingsland Wine & Spirits, Pernod Ricard, Quinn Glass and Tesco. WRAP is also working with trade associations, from The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and Wines of Spain to Wines of South Africa, to explore all relevant technical, economic and social considerations and overcome any barriers which may exist.


“As enthusiasm grows across the globe for a more sustainable approach to wine production, packaging and distribution, the GlassRite Wine project is continuing to drive innovation both in the UK and beyond,” Nicola Jenkin, Beverages Category Manager at WRAP, noted. “This includes working with partners to develop a range of new initiatives, including trialling and producing a 300g commercially viable wine bottle in the UK, exploring opportunities for lighter weight Champagne and sparkling wine bottles, forecasting the UK’s capacity to bottle bulk-imported wine, and producing a comprehensive directory of the lightweight wine bottles already available to the industry.”

“By getting involved, companies throughout the international supply chain can take part in a compelling journey towards innovation and global best practice, while benefiting from specialist support from our international advisors and taking advantage of the potential commercial benefits and cost reductions available,” Ms Jenkin said.