Sustainable Packaging

Monday, 27 April, 2020
WOSA, Angela Lloyd
South Africa’s Integrity and Sustainability seal was introduced in 2010. Among the requirements to qualify is that the wine has been produced sustainably, in an earth-friendly manner. Most people probably view this as what goes on in the vineyards and cellar. Sustainability is just as important with packaging. Containers, closures, labels, boxes - all require a similar, sustainable approach.

Glass bottles: While the container mainly associated with wine is infinitely recyclable, weight and shape have a negative effect on environment and carbon footprint. Locally produced 750ml bottles may range in weight from 450 grams to 1,2 kgs. Bottles are also imported, doubling up on the carbon footprint if exported after being filled.  

Aluminum containers: A 250ml aluminum bottle designed specifically for wine is both recyclable, resealable and the equivalent of a 750ml glass bottle is 25% lighter. Although not yet permissible in South Africa, this may change given the current success with aluminum cans.

A major issue with aluminum containers is the integrity of the liner which needs to be resistant to wine’s chemistry. This is subject to ongoing tests by local producer, Bevcan.

Partner in Renegade Wines, Jaap Pijl offers some ideas on the efficacy of cans versus bottles with regard to transport. A pallet holds 3840 cans or 960 litres of wine. Compare this with a pallet of wine, regularly 660 bottles equaling 495 litres. The weight equation very much depends on the glass bottle used, but even if the pallet of cans weighs more, the bottle pallet still carries just under 50% more dead weight.

Closures: African Closures inform screwcaps are manufactured from up to 50% recycled material and are themselves recyclable; natural corks, technical wine and sparkling wine corks are both recyclable and biodgradeable, while tin capsules and synthetic wax are recyclable.

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